Modern medicine, with its drugs and advanced surgical methods, has not found the answer to all the disabilities that afflict man. Medical professionals often have to resort to massage, exercise, and other methods of physical manipulation to treat certain diseases and conditions. Also known as physiotherapy, physical therapy can trace its origins to England in the late nineteenth century, when The Society of Trained Masseuses was formed by nurses and midwives hoping to give official recognition to their massage practices.Physical therapists deal with musculoskeletal, cardiopulmonary, and neurological conditions. Patients who require physical therapy include those with permanent disabilities, those who have lost the function of their limbs due to an accident, or those with disabling conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, head injuries, cerebral palsy, and low back pain.Apart from restoring function, relieving pain, and improving mobility, physical therapists also help to maintain overall fitness and health. Through a range of exercises, and with the help of other stimulants such as hot and cold compresses, they help patients improve flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, and coordination. Physical therapists also help patients get used to assistive walking devices such as crutches and wheelchairs. The aim is to encourage such patients on the road to recovery and to help them function effectively at work or at home.Physical therapists practice either privately or in a hospital, or in a fitness center or clinic, with almost 25% working only part-time. Physical therapy is a demanding job, requiring strength and high fitness levels. A physical therapist has to be able to lift a patient and will often spend most of his time crouched or bent over a patient. Physical therapists often have to work over weekends to fit in with a patient’s schedule.Considered a part of conventional medicine, physical therapy requires considerable training. Many universities in the U.S. offer graduate programs in physical therapy. On graduation, physical therapists also have to pass a licensure exam before they can practice in any state in the U.S.Physical therapy often achieves what medicine cannot, making it a deeply satisfying and challenge field of work.
As more people seek alternatives to long-term drug treatments prescribed by physicians, physical therapy centers are becoming a popular choice for pain management. Many people picture someone relearning to walk or lifting weights to help build up weakened muscles from an injury or accident. Historically, physical therapy dealt mainly with the musculoskeletal system caused by birth defects, injury, or old age. But modern physical therapy deals with a wide array of health areas, with many physical therapy centers offering specialties in cardiopulmonary health, women’s health, and pediatric health.What Is Physical Therapy Alternative Treatment?Cancer patients, women struggling with postpartum or prenatal health issues, people with painful skin disorders, and anyone dealing with vestibular problems can seek treatment from a physical therapist. Progressive oncology therapy often uses forms of physical therapy to help patients maintain strength during traditional cancer treatments. Exercises that help with balance and coordination, something greatly affected by intense cancer treatments, can help patients regain normal mobility quicker than if no preventative measures are taken.Pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s reproductive system, often leaving her with weakened pelvic muscles that can lead to incontinence and painful sexual intercourse. Traditional physicians may recommend surgery, but a physical therapist will perform an exam and create an exercises program that helps strengthen the pelvic muscles. Therapy can also help pregnant women realign the joints so that the last trimester is more comfortable. Breast surgery recovery is another women’s therapy, which helps women who have had mastectomies regain mobility.Vestibular disorders affect balance and coordination. The inner ear is responsible for much of a person’s balance, and when the vestibular system is sending mixed messages to the brain, a person experiences dizziness and a loss of balance and coordination. Physical therapists have training in maneuvers and exercises that help realign the vestibular system so that it’s working normally again. Patients can also receive education about how to perform the maneuvers and exercises at home.How to Choose a Physical TherapistOnce a physical therapist graduates from an accredited school, they can choose to work at a hospital, in a nursing home, or choose among a variety of physical therapy centers. Physical therapy programs from North Port to southern California traditionally offer similar educational programs, and all therapists must become licensed in the state they work. Physical therapists who wish to focus on one area of therapy usually take advanced education classes and become certified in the specialty area. It’s important that a person needing therapy for women’s health, dizziness issues, or skin conditions work with a therapist who has received training in that specific area.When choosing a therapist, it’s important that a patient feels comfortable discussing health issues with the therapist. It’s also important that the patient feel comfortable with the therapist’s assistant, who may handle a large part of the therapy under the supervision of the licensed therapist. Other considerations include whether or not the practice accepts the patients insurance, if the therapist is willing to work in conjunction with a patient’s physician, and the goals set forth by the therapist for health improvement and preventative health measures.While alternative treatments aren’t for everyone, physical therapy centers offer people the option of trying non-invasive, drug-free medical care. With the education provided and the managed care given by the therapist, many people find that physical therapy is a great alternative to medication for long-term pain management.