Conditions Treated by Physical Therapists & When to Start Therapy

Also known as a PT, a physical therapist is a healthcare professional specialized in the science of movement. Physical therapists work with patients at all phases of the lifespan who have injuries or illnesses that limit their functional movement. Physical therapy is dynamic and constantly evolving, using research-based science to restore, maintain, and promote optimal functionality.

Phases of Physical Therapy

Regardless of which specific injury or illness brings you to physical therapy, the phases of therapy remain the same. The first step is a thorough evaluation. You will be asked to walk, stretch, or bend in specific ways. Your physical therapist will assess your health history and your current physical condition, and make notes of the limitations you have in flexibility, strength, or movement. Based on the results of your evaluation and your goals for treatment, your physical therapist will design a unique treatment plan just for you.

After the initial evaluation, there are three phases of physical therapy:

Acute Phase: In the acute phase, the goals are to reduce pain and inflammation, and to help your body heal itself. You will learn to use the PRICE method (Prevention-Rest-Ice-Elevation) to promote healing and reduce the risk of further injury.

Subacute Phase: Research shows that healing is fastest when patients get back to moving quickly, but in a careful and controlled way. Your physical therapist will guide you through both in-office and at-home stretching and strengthening exercises that will begin to restore functionality while protecting the damaged area.

Chronic Phase: The last phase of physical therapy is known as the chronic phase. By this point, your injury is mostly healed, and you are at minimal risk for reinjury. However, your body has been traumatized, and it needs a careful, gradual progression toward your pre-injury level of fitness. Your physical therapist will prescribe targeted exercises for you to perform both in the office and at home to restore your strength and flexibility, as well as to address any functional issues that may have contributed to your injury.

Conditions Requiring Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be highly useful in recovering from a wide range of both acute and chronic physical injuries and illnesses. Here are some examples:

  • Heart Attack Recovery
  • Sports Injury Prevention
  • Car Accident Rehabilitation
  • Knee Surgery Recovery
  • Lower Back Pain Treatment
  • Shoulder Injury Recovery
  • Repetitive Use Injury Prevention and Treatment
  • Chronic Pain Condition Rehabilitation

If an injury or illness causes physical pain or limits your range of motion, physical therapy can help. Physical therapists often work with other health care professionals such as surgeons, general physicians, occupational therapists, and pain management doctors. Due to its intensely personalized nature, physical therapy is equally appropriate for infants and the elderly, athletes and those suffering from arthritis pain.

Should I See a Physical Therapist?

If a part of your body is not functioning at 100%, or if you are recovering from a known injury or illness, ask your doctor whether physical therapy is right for you. When medically necessary, physical therapy is covered by most medical insurance plans. It can help to limit pain while improving functioning. No medical treatment is right for everyone, but physical therapy can be a valuable resource for most people with pain or functional limitations.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are seeking a customized, innovative approach to physical therapy in Matawan, NJ, please contact Matawan Physical Therapy at (732) 662-4400 to schedule your initial assessment.