Physical therapy improves the body’s ability to move and reduces pain and inflammation. Physical therapists also encourage healthy movement and can help patients find ways to manage pain naturally.

Exercises make up a large part of physical therapy sessions. These exercises improve your mobility, coordination, and muscle strength. Hot or cold therapies, such as myofascial release and ice massage are often used too.

Physical Examination

A physical examination is a thorough inspection of the body to find what may be causing pain or discomfort. It includes observing the patient’s posture, looking for any rash or unusual moles, checking their skin tone and looking for any obvious swollen areas or any signs of dehydration.

Physical examinations are also used to diagnose certain conditions, such as arthritis, musculoskeletal injuries or congenital disorders. Depending on the symptoms, physical therapists will perform certain manual therapy techniques to help improve movement and joint function or to control pain or muscle spasms. These can include soft tissue techniques like massages, stretching and myofascial release. Heat and cold therapies are also commonly used in physiotherapy to reduce pain and inflammation.

Other physical therapy treatments include passive exercises (physical therapists move parts of the body for you) and treatment based on physical stimuli, such as heat or electrical currents. They can also teach patients exercises to do at home to improve their symptoms or strengthen weakened muscles. Physical therapy also teaches patients what to do to prevent further injury and how to keep their joints healthy. For example, a physical therapist will instruct women on how to do mammograms and Pap smears regularly so they can catch cervical cancer early. Often a physical exam is required for many types of jobs or activities, such as a DOT (Department of Transportation) medical examination that must be performed before driving a commercial motor vehicle.


Physiotherapists are trained in diagnosing and treating the physical limitations that may be caused by an injury or illness. Depending on the condition, they can recommend a variety of treatments such as exercises, joint mobilization or muscle stretching, traction and braces. They are also able to identify any social and psychological factors that contribute to a patient’s injury or pain.

One of the most common assessments a physical therapist will perform is a Movement Pattern Assessment (MPA). It is a reliable and valid instrument that allows for a comparison between individuals and their age-related percentile rank. This is useful in identifying areas of weakness and setting goals for improvement.

The MPA is a valuable tool for clinicians as it provides an opportunity to assess a patient’s range of motion (ROM), strength, balance and coordination and proprioceptive awareness. It also allows a therapist to measure a patient’s progress during treatment.

Another popular assessment is the Complex Task Index and MMSE, both of which are used to determine how well an individual can carry out daily tasks. These tests have a higher validity than the 5xSTS and allow for a more thorough assessment of a patient’s ability to perform daily activities. This is important because it can help determine if the individual will be able to return to their previous level of function after being discharged from hospital.


Physiotherapy helps patients improve their movement and function, even after serious injuries or illnesses. It speeds up recovery, decreases pain and swelling, builds strength, and protects against future injury.

Using their physical assessment findings, physiotherapists develop treatment plans and provide hands-on treatment to help you recover from your condition. This may include exercise, manual therapy, modalities (e.g., heat, cold, electrical stimulation), and assistive devices such as crutches and walkers.

Some examples of physiotherapy treatment methods include aquatic therapy, which uses exercises in the pool to reduce stress on your body, and vestibular rehabilitation, which helps people with dizziness and balance problems. Your therapist will also work with you to teach you strategies and skills that you can apply at home between appointments, to help keep your healing progressing.

Depending on your situation, you may receive inpatient or outpatient physical therapy. Inpatient physical therapy is done at a hospital or rehabilitation center, and involves staying there until you have recovered enough to go home. Outpatient physiotherapy is done in a clinic, and you visit your therapist two to three times per week for 30 to 45 minutes. If your doctor has prescribed you physical therapy, make sure to attend all of your appointments to ensure the best possible outcome. If you miss an appointment, your doctor may not be able to prescribe you physical therapy again until 14 days have passed.


A physiotherapist will guide and educate you throughout the rehabilitation process, making sure that you’re fully capable of returning to normal daily activities. This will involve physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as addressing other underlying health problems.

Physiotherapy is an integral part of a person’s recovery from injury, illness or surgery and may take place in a hospital, clinic, at home, or as a community-based service. It is also often covered by statutory health insurers, including accident insurance companies.

In addition to manual treatment techniques, physiotherapy includes therapeutic exercise (such as stretching and functional mobility drills), gait training, balance drills, and activity-specific pain management. The aim is to improve movement dysfunction and decrease pain, swelling and discomfort.

Rehabilitation is an essential part of universal healthcare that helps people return to their previous level of function and maximum potential following a disease or a debilitating disease, accident or surgery. It also enables people to continue to participate in their work, family and other meaningful life activities.

The rehabilitation workforce consists of different health workers, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and audiologists, orthotists and prosthetists, clinical psychologists and physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors. In addition to physiotherapy, all these professionals are prepared through education and clinical training to treat many different symptoms and conditions related to musculoskeletal disorders.

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