For many patients, physical therapy (PT) is a fundamental component of an interdisciplinary home health care program. It can help you resume your daily activities and improve your overall health and wellbeing. If you are unable to leave the house to undergo physical therapy, or if you feel more comfortable receiving physical therapy at home, in-home PT services may be your ideal solution.
What Is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists are trained and licensed medical professionals who diagnose physical abnormalities, restore mobility and physical function, maintain physical function, and promote physical activity and proper function.
Physical therapists can treat a wide range of medical conditions, such as:
- Musculoskeletal dysfunction, such as rotator cuff tears and back pain
- Neurological conditions, including traumatic brain injuries and stroke
- Cardiopulmonary issues, such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Women’s health and pelvic floor dysfunction, including lymphedema and urinary incontinence
- Pediatric conditions, such as developmental delays and cerebral palsy
- Sports-related injuries, including concussion and tennis elbow
- Hand therapy for conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger
What Should I Expect From In-Home Physical Therapy?
Physical therapists assist patients in every stage of healing, from initial diagnosis through the restorative and preventative phases of recovery. Physical therapy can be used to support other treatments, or as a standalone option. While some patients are referred to a physical therapist by a physician, many people seek PT themselves.
When you receive physical therapy, you can generally expect:
- A physical examination and assessment, including evaluation of your muscle and joint performance, movement, flexibility, and posture
- A clinical diagnosis, prognosis, and customized treatment plan for both short-term and long-term goals
- Physical therapy intervention and treatment based on the physical therapist’s evaluation and diagnosis
- Self-management recommendations
What Are the Types of Physical Therapy?
A variety of physical therapy options are available to treat a wide range of conditions. These include:
- Orthopedic physical therapy: This treats musculoskeletal injuries involving the muscles, bones, tendons, and ligaments. It helps patients with rehabilitation or recovery from orthopedic surgery and other medical conditions such as fractures, sprains, tendonitis, bursitis, and chronic medical problems.
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation: This can help patients affected by certain cardiopulmonary conditions and surgical procedures. Treatment is intended to increase stamina and physical endurance.
- Neurological physical therapy: This treatment focuses on patients with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and spinal cord injuries. It is intended to treat paralysis, increase limb responsiveness, and improve muscle strength by reducing muscle atrophy.
- Geriatric physical therapy: A common element of home health care for seniors, geriatric physical therapy helps older people restore mobility, improve physical fitness, and reduce pain. It is often used to assist elder patients who experience balance disorders, hip and joint replacement, Alzheimer’s disease, Osteoporosis, arthritis, and incontinence.
- Pelvic floor rehabilitation: This helps to treat urinary urgency, urinary or fecal incontinence, and pelvic pain caused by surgery or injury.
- Decongestive therapy: This helps drain accumulated fluids from patients suffering from lymphedema or other condition that involves fluid accumulation.
- Vestibular physical therapy: This type of therapy is intended to treat balance issues that can be caused by inner ear problems. A number of exercises and manual techniques are involved in vestibular physical therapy to help patients restore their normal coordination and balance.
- Wound care therapy: This therapy is conducted to ensure a healing wound receives sufficient blood and oxygen through improved circulation. Wound care therapy may include wound care, compression therapy, electric stimulation, and manual therapies.
- Pediatric physical therapy: Sometimes a part of a home health care for children program, pediatric physical therapy serves to diagnose, treat, and manage conditions that affect infants, children, and adolescents. These issues can include cerebral palsy, developmental delays, and other problems that affect the musculoskeletal system.
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If you are considering physical therapy at home, a physical therapist can help you in any stage of recovery to restore your physical function and general wellbeing.