Physical Therapy is skilled treatment of a vast array of problems that affect movement, function, and health. The cornerstones of physical therapy treatment are therapeutic exercise and functional training. In addition to "hands-on" care, physical therapists also educate patients to take care of themselves and to perform certain exercises on their own. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may utilize any of the following treatments:
- Therapeutic Exercise- includes Range of Motion and Strengthening programs.
- Balance and Coordination Training- may include instruction in the use of an assistive device, such as cane, quad cane, or walker.
- Mobilize" or "Manipulate" a joint - perform certain types of joint movements at the end of your range of motion to help reduce pain and restore full movement.
- Massage- promote proper movement and function of a muscle, help reduce swelling, decrease muscle spasms and pain, or help break down scar tissue.
- Ultrasound- uses high frequency sound waves to produce heat, resulting in muscle relaxation, decreased inflammation, increased metabolism, and reduction of pain. Vibration produced by the sound waves also increases flexibility of joints, ligaments, and tendons and helps break down scar tissue.
- Electrical stimulation- aids in strengthening, promotes circulation, decreases pain, decreases edema, and maintains or improves mobility.
- Iontophoresis- use of electricity to administer medication to specific area of the body to help relieve pain/swelling.
- Traction- used to help relieve spinal nerve root impingement resulting from bulging, herniated, or protruding discs or muscle spasms.
- Whirlpool- used to increase circulation, promote muscle relaxation, calm sensory nerve endings, and aid with healing. Also used to treat open wounds, burns, inflammatory conditions, certain circulatory diseases, and peripheral nerve injuries.
- Heat/ice- helps decrease pain and inflammation and improve circulation.
- Prosthetic and Orthotic Training. Physical therapists are able to help individuals learn to live with various medical conditions by helping them learn to move without difficulty or pain.
Who Benefits From Physical Therapy?
Because physical therapists are experts in movement and function, they do not confine their talents to treating people who are ill. A large part of a physical therapist's program is directed at preventing injury and loss of movement. Physical therapists collaborate with the Occupational Therapists in industrial settings to improve the design of the workplace and reduce the risk of workers overusing certain muscles or developing low back pain or repetitive motion injuries. They also provide services to athletes at all levels to screen for potential problems and institute preventive exercise programs, as well as helping individuals who already know that they have a problem with their joints or their backs develop workouts that are safe and effective.
Because people of all ages, from the newborn to the very aged, have the need to move and function, physical therapists work with patients across the lifespan. Physical therapists at Mid America Rehab work with patients in the hospital at Ste. Genevieve Memorial and Perry County Memorial, at Riverview at the Park Care and Rehabilitation Center and Perry County Nursing Home, in the outpatient clinic, in the home health setting, and on the job at local businesses.
Common diagnoses treated by physical therapists include:
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder, arm, wrist, or hand problems
- Hip, knee, ankle, or foot problems
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Sprains and muscle strains
- Rehabilitation after a serious injury
- Chronic respiratory problems
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Problems with balance
- Pre and post-surgical conditions
- Pre / post-natal programs
- Fitness and wellness education
Many other conditions may benefit from physical therapy treatment. Ask your doctor if you think physical therapy might be right for you.
About Physical Therapy Practitioners
All physical therapists are college graduates. The physical therapists working at Mid America Rehab have graduated with either a bachelor's or master's degree, and physical therapy assistants have an associate's degree. All are also required to take a national examination and are licensed in the state of Missouri. For more information about the staff practicing in Cape Girardeau, Ste. Genevieve, or Perryville, visit the Mid America Rehab "Clinics & Staff" page