"Physical therapy can improve your ability to move and function, while also benefiting your general fitness and health. Physical therapists help people with orthopedic conditions such as low back pain or osteoporosis; joint and soft tissue injuries such as fractures and dislocations; neurological conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, or Parkinson's disease; connective tissue injuries such as burns or wounds; cardiopulmonary and circulatory conditions such as congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and workplace injuries including repetitive stress disorders and sports injuries (APTA, 2008)".
Aquatic therapy or pool therapy consists of an exercise program that is performed in the water. Aquatic therapy uses the physical properties of water to assist in patient healing and exercise performance.
One benefit of aquatic therapy is the buoyancy provided by the water. While submerged in water, buoyancy assists in supporting the weight of the patient. This decreases the amount of weight bearing which reduces the force of stress placed on the joints. This aspect of aquatic therapy is especially useful for patients with arthritis, healing fractured bones, or who are overweight. By decreasing the amount of joint stress it is easier and less painful to perform exercises.
The viscosity of water provides an excellent source of resistance that can be easily incorporated into an aquatic therapy exercise program. This resistance allows for muscle strengthening without the need of weights. Using resistance coupled with the water's buoyancy allows a person to strengthen muscle groups with decreased joint stress that cannot be experienced on land.
Aquatic therapy also utilizes hydrostatic pressure to decrease swelling and improve joint position awareness. The hydrostatic pressure produces forces perpendicular to the body's surface. This pressure provides joint positional awareness to the patient. As a result, patient proprioception is improved. This is important for patients who have experienced joint sprains, as when ligaments are torn, our proprioception becomes decreased. The hydrostatic pressure also assists in decreasing joint and soft tissue swelling that results after injury or with arthritic disorders.
Lastly, the warmth of the water experience during aquatic therapy assists in relaxing muscles and vasodilates vessels, increasing blood flow to injured areas. Patients with muscle spasms, back pain, and fibromyalgia find this aspect of aquatic therapy especially therapeutic.
Rehabilitation professionals play an important role in wound care by expediting healing, restoring normal function, and educating the patient and families on wound prevention.
Many non-healing wounds and sores are actually caused by other illness or underlying medical conditions that the patient may not be aware of. Diabetes, smoking, other causes of poor blood circulation, heart problems, poor nutrition and conflicting combinations of medications can often cause wounds to develop-especially in the legs and feet-that simply will not heal using conventional medicine.
A therapist may focus on decreasing pain with either passive or active therapy. Examples of passive physical therapy are heat or ice packs, TENS units, and Ultrasound. Examples of active physical therapy are stretching, strengthening exercises, pain relief exercises, and low-impact aerobic conditioning.
Strengthening exercises are performed to help you improve the function of your muscles. The goal is to improve strength, increase endurance and maintain or improve range of motion. Post-operative exercises should always be guided by your doctor and physical therapist, as there may be specific restrictions for your injury.
Sports Injury Rehab
Sports injury rehab specializes in the care and treatment of athletes at any level (Youth, High School, College, Recreational and Professional). Each clinic educated in functionally based exercises as well as agility and coordination drills necessary to progress an athlete from injury through return to play.
Work Rehab Solution
Work Rehab Solutions is designed to maintain the health, wellness and safety of the work force by evaluation and reconditioning of injured workers. The work program helps to decrease time on disability and lost work time cost. Our services can assist physicians, insurance companies, case managers and employees by providing education in ergonomic work practices using protective body mechanics to help the worker establish and maintain healthy work habits. The industrial therapists provide the following comprehensive services.
- Functional Capacity Evaluation: A one-time evaluation (4 to 6 hours) that includes standardized testing, musculoskeletal evaluation, determination of the level of maximum voluntary effort of the patient and simulation of job demands to identify the individual's physical capacity and endurance for working. This is used to establish vocational rehabilitation needs, work limitations/restrictions prior to return to work or as a baseline for the work-reconditioning program.
- Extended Functional Capacity Evaluation: A 2-3 day extensive evaluation to assess in depth the cumulating effect of work on an individual's physical capacity for work as well as to assess core work behaviors.