Orthopedic physical therapy is a physical therapy concentration that focuses on the orthopedic system. Orthopedic physical therapists focus on diagnosis, managing and rehabilitating the musculoskeletal system including injuries to tendons, muscles, ligaments and bones. The intention of this physical therapy concentration is to help alleviate pain, restore function and improve your overall quality of life if you are dealing with orthopedic issues.
What injuries and conditions can benefit from orthopedic physical therapy?
Orthopedic physical therapy can address a variety of injuries and conditions that include, but aren’t limited to:
- Joint pain (ankle/foot, hand/wrist, hip, knee).
- Lower back pain.
- Lyme disease.
- Muscular dystrophy.
- Spinal stenosis.
- Surgery rehabilitation.
Back pain is one of the most common complaints that has people seeking orthopedic physical therapy. Specialized concentrations of physical therapy can succeed when regular physical therapy hasn’t been successful.
What are the benefits of orthopedic physical therapy?
The benefits of orthopedic physical therapy can include:
- Pain relief — Orthopedic physical therapy can use targeted treatments to help reduce pain. These treatments can include manual therapies and other modalities for acute or chronic pain.
- Restoring function — Orthopedic physical therapy focuses on helping to restore your optimal function including movement, flexibility, strength and coordination to do your normal daily activities that affect your quality of life.
- Individualized treatment — Each patient is unique and the treatments of physical therapists reflect that. Physical therapists will develop a personalized treatment plan to help address your specific needs. This can ensure that you receive the most comprehensive care possible to help you in your recovery.
- Injury prevention — Through education, orthopedic physical therapists can help equip you with the tools and knowledge you need that can help you prevent future injuries. This can be through teaching proper posture, exercises and mechanics.
- Postoperative rehabilitation — Physical therapy after surgery can be incredibly beneficial in recovery. It can be particularly beneficial after surgeries like joint replacements. Physical therapists will guide you through exercises and treatments that can help you regain your mobility and strength.
- Range-of-motion improvement — Through specialized exercises and hands-on treatments designed to help your joint mobility and flexibility, orthopedic physical therapists can help you improve your range of motion and reduce stiffness.
- Noninvasive approach — Orthopedic physical therapy offers conservative treatments that can help reduce the need for invasive procedures like surgeries. It can also be beneficial in the reduction of pain medication reliance.
What techniques are used in orthopedic physical therapy?
As a specialty focus of physical therapy, this physical therapy concentration uses a wide range of therapeutic modalities and techniques. Examples of orthopedic physical therapy treatments can include:
- Electrical stimulation — Electrical stimulation is used to provide a mild electrical current to a targeted area with the intention of stimulating nerves and muscles. It can help provide pain relief by blocking pain signals and promoting the release of endorphins. It helps to promote muscle contraction, which can help with strengthening and relaxation. It can also help improve circulation, which can support tissue healing and recovery. Electrical stimulation can be used on its own or in conjunction with other physical therapy treatments.
- Soft tissue mobilization — Soft tissue mobilization is a manual therapy technique that can address issues in the muscles, fascia and other connective tissue. This hands-on technique can help to alleviate pain, improve flexibility and improve overall tissue function. It can also boost circulation, which can improve the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to injured tissue for improved healing. Soft tissue mobilization is often used with other physical therapy techniques for the most benefit to be achieved.
- Joint mobilization — Joint mobilization is another manual therapy technique. It is intended to help address issues of joint mobility and function. A physical therapist uses this hands-on approach to move the joint through its range of motion to help improve it from the limited range experienced back to its normal range. This can help improve pain and discomfort in affected joints. Joint mobilization can be used on its own or with other techniques.
- Dry needling — Dry needling is a technique that is intended to help with muscle pain, tension and dysfunction. A licensed physical therapist will insert thin, sterile needles into trigger points or tight muscles. This is to help stimulate healing, reduce pain and help with muscle tension. This occurs due to improved blood flow and relaxation that can occur due to the dry needling treatment. It can be used on its own or in combination with other techniques.
- Laser therapy — Laser therapy is a modality that is used to promote healing, reduce pain and boost rehabilitation. A low-level laser or light energy is used in targeted areas. It can help stimulate the release of endorphins for natural pain relief.
- Kinesiology taping — Kinesiology taping is a versatile technique used in orthopedic physical therapy to help provide support, reduce pain, and improve muscle and joint function. Kinesiology tape is applied to target areas by a trained physical therapist. It can help prevent re-injury by providing additional stability and support.
Each of these techniques offers a benefit in orthopedic physical therapy treatments. They are often combined and tailored to your unique needs and conditions to best benefit you. Your orthopedic physical therapist will evaluate and work with you to determine the best treatment plan for your rehabilitation.
REPAIR SI can help you with your orthopedic physical therapy needs
REPAIR SI can provide expert guidance on your path to recovery. Our expert physical therapists can help you leave behind the limitations you’re experiencing due to musculoskeletal injuries or conditions. We pride ourselves on our personalized care and commitment to helping you achieve your orthopedic physical therapy goals to improve your quality of life. REPAIR SI can help you take the steps you need to regain your physical strength and possibility of a pain-free future.