Finding Inspiration in your Healing Journey with Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy is a healthcare specialty that includes the evaluation, assessment, and treatment of individuals with limitations in functional mobility. Choosing physical therapy has been shown to help you recover quickly and safely. 

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Gina Phillips, PT

Dean Wolcott, PTA & Personal Trainer

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Physical therapy, also called physiotherapy, is therapy to help people return to full strength, function and mobility after a sickness, an injury or surgery. Physical therapy is a nonsurgical treatment option to correct a medical problem. Physical therapy can also help someone with a disability remain active and independent as long as possible. When the patient is consistent with physical therapy and follows the recommended guidelines, exercises and other techniques, they can help prevent the problem from getting progressively worse or recurring.

Physical therapists often combine several techniques to help you move without pain or with less pain. These include stretching and balance exercises, strength training, massage, cold and heat therapy, and electrical stimulation. In addition to adult and pediatric physical therapy options, there are also certain exercises to treat specific conditions, such as sports injuries or arthritis. When you visit a physical therapist, he or she will create a plan customized to benefit your situation.


Why is physical therapy performed?

Doctors recommend physical therapy to help restore proper physical movement and function and help a patient recover surgery or injury. Physical therapy can also help prevent injuries or keep a problem from worsening. Beginning physical therapy as soon as it’s safe to do so often increases the likelihood of successful recovery. It’s important to follow your physical therapist’s recommendations to achieve the best outcome. Reasons why your doctor might recommend physical therapy include:


  • Relieve and manage pain symptoms

  • Reduce stiffness due to joint conditions, such as arthritis, spondylitis or gout

  • Speed recovery of an injury to the spine, joints or other areas

  • Recover function and prevent further damage due to stroke or diseases, such as Parkinson’s

  • Improve quality of life for people with cancerheart disease, or other health conditions

  • Speed recovery after surgery

What to expect during physical therapy

At your first visit, your physical therapist will do a physical exam, review your referring doctor’s notes or diagnosis, and possibly order or perform additional tests to learn more about your condition and general health. Your physical therapist will discuss your goals for therapy and design a treatment plan specifically for you. At each visit, talk with your physical therapist about any pain you are experiencing including the pain level, what activities cause pain, or if it is pain while resting, and if it is affecting your sleep. Any information you can provide will help your physical therapist further modify your treatment plan. Some of the physical therapy treatment techniques can include:


  • Stretching exercises to increase flexibility

  • Range-of-motion exercises to maintain or recover lost movement ability

  • Exercises to improve coordination and balance

  • Massage or joint mobilization

  • Applications of heat or cold to relieve pain and speed recovery

  • Electric stimulation or ultrasound to relieve pain

How do I prepare for physical therapy?

First, prepare yourself to be an active participant in your physical therapy session. When you go to a session, wear loose-fitting clothes and comfortable shoes so the therapist can evaluate your movement during exercises. If you’re working on knee exercises, you may want to wear shorts for your appointment.

The goal of physical therapy is to restore or improve your body’s normal function, including strength, mobility and flexibility. Some people will experience a full recovery from their condition, but some people may have residual pain or limited range of motion. Your recovery depends on several factors, including the problem you have and whether you follow your physical therapist’s instructions exactly as directed. 

How long will it take to recover?

There are many variables in a recovery process involving physical therapy. For some conditions, recovery could be as little as a few weeks or a year or longer. Chronic conditions, such as arthritis, may require lifelong physical therapy. In these cases, a physical therapist will develop a plan for you to do at home on a regular basis to keep office visits to a minimum. Following the physical therapy techniques properly and consistently increases the likelihood of a successful, speedy recovery.


EWOT, Exercise With Oxygen Training  is breathing higher levels of oxygen during exercise. You can use an exercise bike, treadmill, elliptical, or whatever you're comfortable with.

Breathing higher levels of oxygen during exercise increases strength, endurance, and stamina. You can go longer with greater power. This means a more effective workout in the same time frame. In addition, the body operates better when your blood is oxygen-rich.

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