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6 Different Types of Physical Therapy and Their Benefits 
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Physical therapy (or physiotherapy) is a vital healthcare profession that aims to enhance a person’s physical well-being and overall quality of life. It improves mobility, relieves pain, and addresses various physical conditions —- especially for aging and stressed individuals.  

In this post, we’ll explore six different types of physical therapy and their associated benefits. These therapies are a beacon of hope for countless individuals who seek to overcome physical challenges and regain their strength. 

Let’s dive in! 

1. Orthopedic Physical Therapy 

Orthopedic physical therapy focuses on the musculoskeletal system, primarily treating conditions related to the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments. The benefits of orthopedic physical therapy are numerous, including: 

  • Increases joint and muscle flexibility 
  • Improves range of motion 
  • Reduces pain associated with conditions like arthritis, fractures, and joint injuries 

It is also essential for post-surgical recovery as a part of rehabilitation. It helps patients regain function and strength. 

The most common conditions treated by orthopedic physical therapy are: 

  • Arthritis 
  • Fractures 
  • Tendonitis 
  • Muscle strains. 

Typically, it utilizes a range of techniques and exercises, including stretching, strengthening exercises, manual therapy, and functional training. But if you visit advanced therapeutic facilities such as Mocean — you’ll see they incorporate technology to generate better results too. Their innovative approach has landed them among the best options if you search for Physical Therapy NYC

2. Neurological Physical Therapy 

Neurological physical therapy – also known as neurologic physical therapy — is a specialized branch of physical therapy focused on the evaluation and treatment of individuals with neurological disorders. These disorders can affect the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) or the peripheral nervous system (nerves outside the brain and spinal cord).  

It is designed for individuals with neurological disorders, such as: 

  • Stroke 
  • Traumatic brain injuries 
  • Multiple sclerosis 
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Spinal cord injuries 

And other neurological conditions. 

It can enhance coordination and help patients regain control over their movements. It’s also recommended for improving gait, managing pain associated with neurological conditions, and re-establishing body balance

3. Pediatric Physical Therapy 

Pediatric physical therapy focuses on children’s health and well-being, addressing developmental delays and injuries. It’s also for children who undergo surgery or a traumatic life experience. 

The benefits of pediatric physical therapy are as follows: 

  1. Children achieve important developmental milestones. 
  1. Relieves pain associated with growth-related conditions. 
  1. Helps children recover from injuries and surgeries. 

Some of the most common conditions addressed by pediatric physical therapy include cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and injuries. Unlike other types of therapy, this type involves play-based activities, mobility exercises, and motor skill development. 

4. Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy 

Cardiovascular and pulmonary physical therapy is a specialized branch of physical therapy focused on improving the cardiovascular (heart) and pulmonary (lung) systems’ health and function. This form of therapy is designed for individuals who have heart or lung conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, asthma, and those recovering from heart surgeries.  

It is often used in conjunction with medication. While medication helps manage symptoms, physical therapy improves overall health, function, and quality of life. Plus, physical therapy is tailored to each patient’s specific needs, which ensures exercises and techniques are appropriate for their condition and progress. On the contrary, medication is typically a one-size-fits-all approach. 

This type of therapy is usually suggested to: 

  • Individuals with Cardiovascular or Pulmonary Conditions: For individuals diagnosed with heart or lung conditions, including but not limited to COPD, heart failure, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, and those recovering from heart surgeries. 
  • Preventative Care: It can also be recommended for people at risk of heart or lung conditions or those seeking to improve their heart and lung health through exercise and breathing techniques. 

5. Geriatric Physical Therapy 

In medical terminology, the word ‘geriatric’ refers to ‘an old person who is receiving special care’. 

This makes the entire meaning and purpose of this therapy type very clear. Geriatric physical therapy is tailored for the elderly and it addresses age-related health issues and mobility challenges.  

For example, let’s say there’s Mrs. Smith — who’s 75 years old and is now experiencing hip pain due to osteoarthritis. She consults her orthopedic surgeon, who recommends hip replacement surgery to relieve her pain and improve her mobility. After a successful surgery, Mrs. Smith’s healthcare team suggests a course of geriatric physical therapy to aid in her recovery. 

In this case, here’s how the geriatric physical therapy will play out: 

  • Post-Operative Care: The therapy begins shortly after the surgery, initially focusing on gentle movements to prevent complications such as blood clots and promote circulation. 
  • Pain Management: Mrs. Smith’s physical therapist helps her manage post-surgical pain through safe and effective techniques, ensuring she remains as comfortable as possible during her recovery. 
  • Mobility and Strength: Over the course of her rehabilitation, Mrs. Smith’s therapist designed a personalized exercise program aimed at gradually improving her hip joint strength and range of motion. This includes specific exercises to help her regain her ability to walk, balance, and climb stairs. 
  • Fall Prevention: Given her age and the surgery, fall prevention is a crucial aspect of the therapy. The therapist works to enhance her balance and coordination to reduce the risk of falls. 
  • Functional Independence: The therapist focuses on helping Mrs. Smith regain her independence in activities of daily living, such as getting in and out of bed, dressing, and using the bathroom without assistance. 

Summing up, geriatric physical therapy helps elderly like Mrs. Smith stay independent and relaxed even as their bones become weaker. 

6. Sports Physical Therapy 

Lastly, we have sports physical therapy. It is designed for athletes recovering from injuries or seeking performance enhancement. 

It helps with: 

  • Sports-related injuries. 

Some of the most common conditions treated by sports physical therapy are sprains, strains, dislocations, fractures, concussions, etc. 

Final Words 

Physical therapies not only improve physical health but also have a deep impact on overall well-being and quality of life. Whether you’re recovering from surgery, managing a chronic condition, or striving for peak athletic performance, physical therapy is an essential ally in your journey to a healthier, more active life.  

So, if you or a loved one are facing physical challenges, don’t hesitate to seek the assistance of a qualified physical therapist to help you regain your strength and vitality! 

-Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata: