Physical therapy is treatment to improve mobility (such as walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed), to relieve pain, and to restore physical function and overall fitness. The physical therapist uses exercise, manual therapy, education, and modalities such as heat, cold, and electrical stimulation to work toward these goals.
Depending on your injury, disease, or condition, you may need to work on flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and/or balance. To do this, your treatment may focus on preventing problems or treating problems that affect:
- Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones (musculoskeletal system).
- Your nerves and related muscles (neuromuscular system).
- Your heart and related blood vessels (cardiovascular system).
- Your lungs and breathing (pulmonary system).
- Your skin, including wounds and burns.
- Any combination of two or more of these.
By Healthwise Staff Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical Reviewer Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy Last Revised March 7, 2013