The 7 Common Types of Physical Therapy
People may seek physical therapy to recover from an injury, prevent an injury, manage an existing condition, or improve their general health. While general physical therapists can help patients with many issues, it is also possible for them to undergo additional training and specialize further. There are seven main areas that a physical therapist can specialize in.
1. NEUROLOGICAL PHYSICAL THERAPY
Nerves control every function in the body by allowing the brain to communicate with the spine and other body parts or systems. Conditions that are neurological in nature break down this communication and can have serious impacts, both physical and mental. A patient recovering from spinal and brain injuries or neurological conditions like a stroke or Alzheimer’s may see a neurological physical therapist.
Almost all neurological conditions are chronic and unable to be easily treated with medication or a simple procedure. Instead, physical therapy is able to use a series of sessions to improve mobility and coordination in those with neurological problems.
This physical therapy may be less intense than other forms of treatment, instead focusing on small physical exercises that gradually reduce the impact of a neurological condition. Patients may significantly improve or regain full autonomy as a result of treatment.
2. OCCUPATIONAL PHYSICAL THERAPY
Occupational physical therapy focuses on the ability to complete tasks related to work or recovering from injuries sustained at work that are not accidents. For example, an occupational physical therapist may teach manual laborers to properly lift an object without damaging the back.
This therapy may also focus on building core and body strength that facilitates safer physical activity. However, it is also very holistic and ensures the entire body is able to properly perform their job duties.
3. GERIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
Aging people have unique sets of physical needs that can cause problems, from degenerative conditions to deterioration in natural movement. A geriatric physical therapist works specifically with the older population to address mobility and movement issues.
This therapy may address natural issues, helping senior citizens to maintain their strength and ability to move for as long as possible, as well as conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, and even certain cancers. Goals may include reducing pain and increasing range of motion through small, manageable exercises.
4. PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
Age-based pediatric physical therapy is aimed at children, helping to facilitate the growth and mobility needs of infants, toddlers, and adolescents. Any child who has problems with body movement that impede their lives can benefit from this therapy. A pediatric physical therapist can work with children who have genetic conditions, congenital disabilities, severe injuries, head trauma, or limb disabilities.
Early intervention is critical in all forms of development, and parents that catch these issues early on and begin physical therapy can increase a child’s chances of becoming a strong and healthy adult.
5. REHABILITATIVE PHYSICAL THERAPY
Rehabilitative physical therapy will be used after a major event like an injury or surgery in order to regain strength and ease of movement.
For surgical patients, mobility and movement are often limited in the body part being operated on. A rehabilitative physical therapist will usually begin working with them immediately after their procedure to strengthen certain body parts, continuing to support their recovery at home until the patient can take care of themselves properly.
Injuries, especially sports injuries, are also commonly treated by these physical therapists. The earlier therapy begins, the better the recovery chances are. Physical therapy not only addresses these injuries through strength building and pain management but can also help prevent future injuries.
6. HAND PHYSICAL THERAPY
Despite the name, hand physical therapy is actually focused on the entire arm. While the hand or fingers could be impacted, conditions like arthritis or carpal tunnel may also affect the wrist and forearm. This physical therapy will use simple hand exercises to maintain or regain range of motion in the hand.
7. ORTHOPEDIC PHYSICAL THERAPY
When there is damage to the musculoskeletal system, an orthopedic physical therapist will be able to help by reducing muscle atrophy and building strength. This can include recovery from orthopedic surgery, as well as arthritis, sports injuries, amputations, and other conditions. These physical therapists will craft exercises specific to the area of your body that is injured and what your goals for recovery are.
Contact either our Foothill Ranch Physical Therapy or Lake Forest Physical Therapy locations.
Does Insurance Cover Physical Therapy
“Does Insurance Cover Physical Therapy?” is a common question we get asked. For many people, physical therapy is a critical component of their medical care, whether it’s to recover from an injury or prevent degenerative conditions from worsening. Unfortunately, the effectiveness and importance of physical therapy don’t always mean it is affordable, and many Americans will have to rely on their insurance provider to be able to access this care. It can sometimes be difficult to understand what exactly your plan covers and how much you may owe for physical therapy. While the answer is different for everybody, there are some questions you can ask to determine what this coverage may look like for you.
Physical Therapy and Insurance Plans
Any health insurance plan that is compliant with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other state-marketplace regulations is required to offer ten “essential benefits.” By law, these plans must cover anything that counts as one of these ten benefits. One of these categories is rehabilitative services, which can include physical therapy. In addition to these plans, any federally qualified HMO plan should cover physical therapy.
When it comes to other private insurance, there are three possible scenarios: physical therapy is covered with a co-pay from you, physical therapy is covered and you pay a co-insurance and/or deductible, or physical therapy isn’t covered and you will have to pay out of pocket. In some cases, which scenario applies to you will depend on the reason for your physical therapy.
For example, your plan may not cover physical therapy as a preventative treatment related to athletic endeavors, but it may cover the service if you are recovering from surgery.
Questions to Ask Your Insurance Provider About Physical Therapy
Health insurance plans can be difficult to understand. Before you begin any treatment, it’s a good idea to reach out to your insurance provider for clarity on what exactly your coverage will look like. This can help you avoid surprise bills or even a denied claim.
- What providers are in-network?
- What is the maximum amount they will pay?
- What is the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum?
- Is there a limit to the number of visits?
- Do you need a referral?
How to Tell If Your Child Has a Concussion
Concussions have become a topic of much debate and research in competitive sports due to concerns about their long-term consequences. This is even more of a concern for parents with children who are active in sports from an earlier age.
How Do You Get a Concussion?
A concussion is considered a mild brain injury that occurs when a head impact causes the brain to quickly move back and forth inside the skull. A concussion can injure brain cells and disrupt chemical and hormone release in the brain. These changes can have physical, cognitive, and emotional impacts on someone within seconds, minutes, or hours.
What Are the Signs of a Concussion?
Below are some of the more common signs of a concussion.
- Memory and concentration problems
- Feeling sluggish and foggy
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in vision
- Light sensitivity
- Altered emotional state (emotional, anxious, depressed)
- Altered sleep patterns (insomnia or hypersomnia)
If you suspect that your child has a concussion, it is pivotal they are examined by a physician and physical therapist that is familiar with treating concussions to optimize recovery. OC Sports and Rehab are Concussion Therapy specialists.Read More
Physical Therapy to Treat Sciatica Pain
Sciatica pain can be brutal and it can sideline you without warning for days or weeks. If you are searching for long-lasting relief from sciatica pain, you may have wondered if you should seek the expertise of a physical therapist. If you’ve already received a sciatica diagnosis for your back and leg pain, a physical therapist can develop a plan that includes treating your pain, managing your symptoms, and preventing future flare-ups. Some doctors may prescribe pain medications that mask the pain symptoms for short periods at a time, which may be necessary from time to time. But when you go to physical therapy for sciatica, you will get long-term relief that starts with the core issue causing your pain. Our trained physical therapists will take a comprehensive look at your body’s functioning and how your pain is affecting you from head to toe. In order to fully heal and prevent future recurrences of sciatica, a physical therapist will work with you through your entire treatment and recovery process.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for Sciatica
In order to properly address sciatica, your doctor must first determine the root cause of your pain. Medication can help to temporarily manage your pain, but the cause of your sciatica must also be addressed for optimal healing and sciatica relief. A thorough and effective treatment plan for sciatica will address the possibilities of disc herniation, spinal stenosis, misalignment, or other causes of your sciatica while also managing your symptoms. Physical therapy can address all of these causes and will get you on the road to feeling better and living pain-free. Here are four ways you can benefit from physical therapy for sciatica.
• RELIEVE PAIN
Part of the rehabilitation process with a Foothill Ranch Physical Therapist will involve reducing or eliminating your pain. Physical therapy employs a combination of treatment approaches that aim to reduce the cause of your pain through biomechanics. Your physical therapist may incorporate ice and heat therapy, stretches, and therapeutic massage to help relieve your pain and discomfort. Exercises can also help to promote healthy movements and the release of endorphins that act as natural painkillers inside the body.
• REDUCE INFLAMMATION
An important aspect of managing your sciatica pain is reducing inflammation in the area around the sciatic nerve. When swelling and inflammation occur, it can put additional stress and pressure on the nerve as well as any muscles impacted by sciatica. Physical therapy can help address inflammation so you can also begin to improve your mobility and reduce your pain naturally.
• IMPROVE MOBILITY
Physical therapy is often more recognized for how your doctor helps you to improve your mobility and strength after an injury. In fact, physical therapy can help improve your mobility by strengthening affected or damaged muscles and straightening the spinal column to help relieve pain. Restoring proper posture and spinal functioning can help to reduce the pressure and tightened muscles around the sciatic nerve, allowing you to move more easily with less pain.
• PREVENT RECURRENCE
In addition to treatment and rehabilitation, your physical therapist will also work with you to focus on preventing a recurrence of sciatica. By strengthening the muscles and tendons that support your spine, you develop more flexibility and support for a healthy, functioning spine.
Visit our Placentia Physical Therapy, Lake Forest Physical Therapy, or Foothill Ranch Physical Therapy locations to learn more!Read More