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Why Do People Go To Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy (PT) is vital medical treatment aimed at helping individuals recover from injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions that affect their mobility and physical function. There are numerous reasons why people seek physical therapy, ranging from acute injuries to chronic conditions. The following are some of the most common reasons why people undergo physical therapy treatments.

Musculoskeletal Injuries

Musculoskeletal injuries encompass various conditions affecting the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. These injuries can result from accidents, sports-related trauma, overuse, or degenerative conditions. Common musculoskeletal injuries that may necessitate physical therapy include:

Sprains and Strains

These injuries involve stretching or tearing ligaments (sprains), muscles, and tendons (strains). Physical therapy aims to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling while restoring strength, flexibility, and range of motion.


Following a fracture, physical therapy is crucial for promoting healing, restoring mobility, and preventing muscle atrophy and joint stiffness. PT exercises and modalities help improve bone density, muscle strength, and proprioception, facilitating a safe return to activities.

Joint Dislocations

Dislocations occur when the bones in a joint are forced out of their normal alignment. Physical therapy focuses on stabilizing the joint, strengthening surrounding muscles, and improving joint proprioception to prevent recurrent dislocations and enhance functional mobility.

Orthopedic Surgeries

Orthopedic surgeries, such as joint replacements, ligament repairs, and spinal procedures, often require comprehensive rehabilitation to optimize outcomes and facilitate recovery. Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the postoperative phase by:

Promoting Healing

PT interventions, including manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and ultrasound and electrical stimulation modalities, help accelerate tissue healing and reduce postoperative pain and swelling.

Restoring Function

Through targeted exercises and functional training, physical therapists work to regain strength, flexibility, and coordination, enabling patients to resume activities of daily living and return to work or sports.

Preventing Complications

Physical therapy protocols minimize the risk of postoperative complications such as stiffness, muscle weakness, and joint contractures. Therapists provide education on proper body mechanics and activity modifications to ensure a safe and successful recovery.

Chronic Pain Conditions

Chronic pain, whether due to musculoskeletal disorders, neuropathic conditions, or systemic illnesses, can significantly impair quality of life and functional independence. Physical therapy offers non-invasive, evidence-based interventions to manage chronic pain by:

Improving Mobility

Gentle stretching, manual therapy techniques, and therapeutic exercises help alleviate muscle tension, improve joint mobility, and reduce stiffness associated with chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis.

Enhancing Function

Physical therapists employ graded activity and pacing strategies to increase tolerance to physical activity and improve functional capacity gradually. Assistive devices and orthotic prescriptions may also be recommended to optimize mobility and reduce pain.

Addressing Psychological Factors

Recognizing the biopsychosocial nature of chronic pain, physical therapists integrate cognitive-behavioral strategies, relaxation techniques, and stress management strategies into treatment plans to address emotional distress and promote coping skills.

Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders, including stroke, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, often result in motor impairments, balance disturbances, and gait abnormalities. Physical therapy interventions for neurological conditions focus on:

Neuromuscular Re-education

Through repetitive task-specific training, balance exercises, and gait training, physical therapists help rewire neural pathways and improve motor control, coordination, and proprioception.

Functional Independence

PT aims to maximize independence in activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, and mobility. Adaptive equipment, orthotics, and environmental modifications may be recommended to enhance safety and autonomy.

Fall Prevention

Given the increased risk of falls among individuals with neurological disorders, physical therapists implement fall prevention strategies, including balance training, vestibular rehabilitation, and education on home safety precautions.Thank you to our friends at LeMoine Physical Therapy for their insight into physical therapy.