What is Physical Therapy?
Date Published: June 29, 2022
If you look into the official definition of a physical therapist, you can get plenty of information through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The APTA is the primary association representing physical therapists in the United States and provides any and all information as it applies to physical therapists. According to the APTA, physical therapists are movement experts who improve the quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education. At Accelerate Physical Therapy, we like to think patient and movement education is at the centerpiece of our care. Our team aims to redefine our clients and societies expectations of physical therapy and help them better understand what our role truly is through education of your body and your condition.
Many of our clients have questions as to what the role of a physical therapist entails, including the experience, what to expect, and ultimately their purpose in healthcare. Some common thoughts are “well, they just teach you how to exercise” and “to be honest, I don’t really know.” In our experience and from our clients who have a history of physical therapy treatment first hand, it is perceived as a combination of stretching, massage, adjustments, manipulation, and exercise. While these things are within the scope of physical therapy practice, they are simply a variety of tools that a physical therapist uses to accomplish their goal.
Think of a physical therapist as taking the toll road to overcome pain and injury as it applies to the musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, joints, tendons, bones, and nerves as they interface through each of these structures). Our goal is to expedite the healing process, and get you from point A to B as quickly and effectively as possible. While the body is naturally designed to heal on its own, a physical therapist’s knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics (i.e. how the body should and should not move under various conditions) allows them to reduce the time it takes for tissues to heal. A physical therapist uses their skills to accelerate the healing process, and is the true backbone of our profession. It is reflected in our company name, as this truly defines the role of a physical therapist.
How do we specifically accelerate the healing process?
Ultimately, postural and movement habits have the largest effects on the way people move. The way people move can affect muscles, joints, tendons, bones, and nerves in both positive and negative ways. Most individuals seek physical therapy treatment because something isn’t working effectively in the way they move. Whether it be sitting, standing, walking, bending, or lifting, the technique and strategy used to move can make or break an individual. We believe that people move the way they do for three primary reasons: mobility, muscle performance, and motor control.
Our role as Physical Therapists is to ask a series of detailed questions through the history of your injury, and based on this history, determine which reason contributes to your problem. Once this is decided through various testing, the physical therapist can generate a specific and individualized plan for your recovery. No one person has the same injury history, and almost everyone we see moves in a different way. Likewise, each person learns in different ways and at various speeds. We develop a plan of care based on YOUR specific injury, how your movement contributes to it, and your learning style. This means you could see us a few times a year, multiple times per week, or for multiple months at a time. There is no “one size fits all” approach to your treatment. In the long run, physical therapy services should be sought out for those searching to reach their physical health goals more quickly rather than allowing the body to “heal itself.”
Orange County Physical Therapy Services
As the research has proved time and time again, physical therapy is one of the best remedies for pain management and resolution, and is the single best alternative to the use of medication, pain mitigation techniques such as injections, and more invasive surgical procedures. You can access our physical therapists in a clinical setting, via telehealth, and through custom movement screens created for a specific activity or sport.
Find out more in our “FAQ” section!