Author - Anastasia Belikov, PT, Cert. MDT
Graduated with her DPT in 2017
What Can Physical Therapy Treat
IN THE KNOW
Friday, September 2, 2022
Generally, if you are experiencing pain, weakness, or stiffness, a physical therapist can help you. Our schooling trains us to strengthen what is weak, stretch what is tight, and treat pain. But, these are very broad guidelines, and they are not the full scope of what physical therapists can treat.
Many physical therapists work in hospitals, but some also work in outpatient clinics, home health agencies, nursing homes, schools, sports and fitness facilities, and places of employment. In outpatient care we see mostly orthopedic related conditions and diagnoses. Our clinicians also have experience working with post-stroke and post-concussive clients, as well as working with clients with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, and amputees. Physical therapists design treatment plans specific to each person's needs, challenges, and goals. They work together with you to develop strategies and help you achieve your goals.
Physical therapists and PTAs care for people of all ages and abilities. Physical therapists also help people manage pain without the risks of opioid use. Opioid risks include depression, substance use disorder, overdose, and withdrawal symptoms when stopping use. To manage long-term pain, the CDC recommends safer options like physical therapy. Physical therapists help people manage pain and improve movement problems. Some pain can become chronic and lead to surgery. Physical therapy helps to reduce the symptoms of many chronic diseases and conditions.
It can also keep many problems from getting worse. Physical therapists can help you avoid the need for, and the costs and risks of, surgery. Research shows that physical therapy is as effective as surgery for some conditions, including: Meniscal tears and knee osteoarthritis, Rotator cuff tears, Spinal stenosis, Degenerative disk disease. Here are a few other specific conditions and diagnoses that physical therapists can help with:
headaches, migraines, TMJ dysfunction, balance, gait and coordination, vertigo/dizziness
neck pain, whiplash, torticollis, cervical fusion rehabilitation
wrist and hand pain, arthritic changes, post-operative rehabilitation
shoulder pain, frozen shoulder, and rehabilitation following rotator cuff, labral repairs, and total shoulder replacement
elbow pain, tennis/golfers elbow, post-operative rehabilitation
mid- and low-back pain, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, lumbar fusion rehabilitation
hip pain, piriformis syndrome, rehabilitation following labral repair, femur fractures and total hip replacements
knee pain, patellar dysfunctions, and rehabilitation following meniscus/ACL/PCL/MCL repairs and total knee replacements
foot pain, ankle sprains, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and rehabilitation following Achilles' tendon repairs and ankle fractures