Maybe you’re in severe pain from a sports injury, or it could be chronic pain from wear and tear on your joints due to arthritis or a related condition. Philip Striano, DC, with Hudson Rivertowns Chiropractic in Dobbs Ferry, New York, understands the body mechanics behind your discomfort and directs certain physical therapy treatments to restore function and relieve your pain. Don’t wait any longer for expert treatment that helps restore your body to normal functioning; call Dr. Striano’s office or book an appointment online.

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What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is targeted treatment to restore and maintain body function that has been compromised by an injury, disease, or age and wear and tear on tissues, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. A physical therapist directs your treatment; therapists have a master’s or doctoral degree in physical therapy, which requires extensive training in biomechanics, physiology, anatomy, and kinesiology.

What happens in physical therapy?

Your physical therapist evaluates your condition at the first appointment and develops a treatment plan that can last from a few weeks to a few months. The therapist asks you to perform normal movements to see the extent of impairment — for example, walk in a straight line, bend at the waist or your knees, grasp a ball, balance on one leg, or climb stairs. You may not be able to do some of the tasks at all, but the results offer your therapist a baseline, or starting point.

Physical therapy involves two modes — passive and active:

Passive Modalities:

Passive modalities help relieve your pain. They’re passive because you’re resting while machines or materials are attached to your body. Examples include:

  • Heat/ice packs
  • TENS units — electrodes attached to the painful area send pulses along the nerves that help stop pain signals from reaching the brain.
  • Ultrasound
  • Massage

Active Physical Therapy:

In this mode, you’re moving your body as directed by your therapist to strengthen the impaired area and restore its function. Active mode includes:

  • Exercises or stretches guided by your therapist
  • Rehab, such as learning how to use an artificial limb
  • Practice with assistive devices such as a cane or walker

Your therapist explains how to do exercises targeted to strengthen the painful area, or to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around that area to protect it. Your therapist usually has you do 10 to 20 repetitions of each exercise. If you have back pain, generally, a back exercise program should encompass several stretching exercises.

Your therapist will watch your progress and adjust your treatments as necessary.

How can I aid my recovery during physical therapy?

You should do your therapy exercises at home between sessions to help you recover faster. Doing the exercises at the same time every day helps them become a part of your daily routine.