16 Aug FAQs on Physical Therapy in San Diego
Physical therapy involves various exercises and activities that restore joint movement, limb function, and spinal flexibility. This therapy is done to improve range of motion, muscle strength, and quality of life. The physical therapist uses a variety of pain management techniques to relieve chronic pain.
What qualifications does the physical therapist possess?
The San Diego physical therapist at Sorrento Valley is a highly trained medical professional. The PT provider is trained to identify weaknesses in body biomechanics, develop treatment plans, and prevent patient injury. The therapist works with the patient to improve body function and relieve stress on the injured area.
What techniques are used by the physical therapist?
The physical therapist uses many techniques to provide pain relief, assist with injury recovery, and to alleviate pain related to a chronic condition. Techniques include:
- Stretching tight muscles and joints – One of the main components of physical therapy is stretching exercises. Stretching is done to maintain joint function, range of motion, and integrity. In addition, stretching helps muscle flexibility and prevents scar tissue formation.
- Exercises for strengthening – Strengthening exercises are used to improve muscle function. The goal of strengthening is to improve the patient’s endurance and ability to perform daily tasks. After surgery, strengthening exercises help recovery, as well as prevent post-operative complications.
- Core stability and strengthening exercises – The core of the body is the back, abdomen, chest, and pelvis. This area is the body’s foundation. When core muscles are weak, it is hard for the patient to perform certain activities. The therapist works with the patient to strengthen these muscles.
- Spinal manipulation – The therapist uses his hands to apply controlled force to one or more spinal joints. The amount of force depends on which form of manipulation is used.
- Heat/cold therapies – Heat is useful for warming up muscles and soothing pain. Ice is used to reduce swelling, inflammation, and to cool down muscles after exercise.
- Electrical stimulation – The therapist uses a special device to pass electrical current to the affected body region. Nerve conduction alteration can change muscle contractility, and electrical stimulation also increases blood flow to an injured body area. For the spine, electrical stimulation can block the transmission of pain signals.
- Ultrasound therapy – The therapist can use high-frequency sound waves to stimulate the deep tissues of the body. The ultrasound probe is passed over the affected or injured body part to achieve tissue stimulation. This increases blood flow to the degenerated or injured area through vessel dilation.
How effective is physical therapy?
According to a large review of clinical studies, physical therapy was proved to be effective for treating chronic back pain associated with degenerative disc disease. Researchers also found that exercise decrease pain and improved mobility for people with back pain. In another clinical study, spinal manipulation was proven useful for reducing pain and improving joint and back function.
What conditions do physical therapists treat?
Physical therapy is used to treat many conditions and injuries, such as:
- Sports injuries
- Post-operative joints
- Any disorder of the bones, muscles, tendons, and/or ligaments
- Joint replacement
- Balance problems
- Spinal cord injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- Spinal stenosis
- Spina bifida
Assendelft WJ, Morton SC, Yu EI, Suttorp MJ, Shekelle PG: Spinal manipulative therapy for low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(1):CD000447.
Hayden JA, van Tulder MW, Malmivaara A, Koes BW: Exercise therapy for the treatment of non-specific low back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005;(3):CD000335.
Childs JD, Fritz JM, Flynn TW, Irrgang JJ, Johnson KK, Maikowski GR, Delitto A: A clinical prediction rule to identify patients with low back pain most likely to benefit from spinal manipulation: a validation study. Ann Intern Med. 2004; 141(12):920-928.
Chou R, Huffman LH: Nonpharmacologic therapies for acute and chronic low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians clinical practice guideline.; American Pain Society; American College of Physicians; Ann Intern Med. 2007; 147(7):492-504.
Rubinstein SM, van Middelkoop M, Assendelft WJ, et al. (2011). Spinal manipulative therapy for chronic low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2):CD008112.