What to Expect with Physical Therapy

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy as a course of treatment for a variety of orthopaedic conditions. Physical therapy may be prescribed to:
  • Reduce or eliminate pain
  • Aid the healing of an acute sports injury
  • Delay or even avoid surgery completely
  • Prepare for a surgical procedure and recovery
  • As part of recovery from orthopaedic surgery
  • Restore mobility, balance, or normal gait
  • Prevent re-injury
  • For education on preventing future injury
Riverside physical therapists are licensed professionals trained to work with patients who sustain injury, disability or have other movement limitation such as recovering from surgery. Riverside has several conveniently located outpatient Physical Therapy Centers across the Peninsula and Middle Peninsula.
 
Insurance
When a physician refers you for treatment, most insurance companies will cover the cost of care. Please call us before your first visit and our staff will be happy to help you determine whether your care is covered.
 
Road to recovery
Physical therapy includes a variety of treatments designed to relieve pain and restore range of motion and function. Your therapist will discuss your condition, pain level and goals with you and evaluate your health and fitness including:
  • Strength
  • Balance
  • Range of motion
  • Coordination
  • Endurance and fitness level
  • Posture and gait (if necessary)
Depending on the evaluation, your personal goals, and instructions from your referring doctor, you and your physical therapist will develop a highly personalized "Road to Recovery" treatment plan.
 
Goals
The goals you set are a very important part of your treatment. You should set a few very attainable short-term goals and a long-term goal of what you hope to achieve by the end of your treatment. Working in concert with other medical professionals, your therapist will evaluate and communicate progress toward your goals on a regular basis.
 
Therapy timeline
It is difficult to give a definitive answer to how long you will require physical therapy as it depends on many factors. Experience shows that patients who are serious about their daily exercises and instructions for the period between appointments, make more progress than those who wait until their appointment to get to work.
 
Treatments
Depending on your condition, your therapist may use one or more of the following treatment methods:
  • Heat therapy
  • Cold therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Massage therapy
  • Splint creation for prevention or corrections of injury
  • Traction
  • Bandages to help control swelling
  • Sensory re-education after nerve injury
  • Exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles
  • Exercises to improve posture
  • Training in the performance of daily life skills using adapted methods and equipment
One part of your physical therapy is educational. You will learn how to avoid further injury and may learn how to for example, wrap painful joints to help protect them from additional injury. Arthritis patients will be taught strategies for living with reduced mobility and given exercises to help keep supporting muscles strong.

 

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