What is Physical Therapy

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What is Physical Therapy

I have practiced Physical Therapy for eight years now, and the phrase “ I didn’t know PTs did that,” is pretty common.  When people ask what I do for a living, their immediate assumption is that physical therapists only treat clients after an event such as an injury or surgery. This is only partially true. Physical Therapists help individuals restore range of motion, strength, and guide clients in their return to functional activity, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.  My goal as a physical therapist is to help people feel better, move better, and perform better.

Physical therapists, as defined by the American Physical Therapy Association, “are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility – in many cases without expensive surgery and often reducing the need for long-term use of prescription medications and their side effects.”  This is a solid definition, but it limits us as therapists to only working with a client who has had an injury, is experiencing pain, or is recovering from a surgical procedure. By all means this is true. We pride ourselves in helping others return to the painfree lifestyle they once knew.  This may come in many forms from helping the high school athlete return to the playing field, allowing someone to return to full work duties in order to provide for his/her family, or helping a grandparent enjoy their grandchildren.

I feel as therapists, we miss the boat when it comes to working with individuals who want to perform better.  This is not just referring to an individual competing in high level athletics.  It could be anyone who wants to improve their game. This can range from golf to crossfit.  I am not claiming to be a golf instructor by any means.  It does take practice and proper coaching to improve your mechanics.  But what if you have difficulty moving?  What if you aren’t able to move through the entire range of motion required for a better golf swing? This is where Physical Therapy can play a huge role.  We can help improve the areas of restriction that could be limiting your performance.  This doesn’t hold true just for golfers, but also any other activity you would like to improve in.   I have seen many athletes in the gym not reaching their full potential because of mobility or stability issues.  For instance, poor ankle or hip mobility will make it hard to achieve a full squat, especially with a loaded barbell.  There are numerous instances in which a physical therapist can improve your mobility for better positioning with your lifts.

As a therapist I enjoy  helping my clients feel,  move, and perform better. By utilizing various treatment techniques and corrective movement strategies, Physical Therapists can help you achieve your goals.  So whether you are a weekend warrior looking to improve your game, a crossfitter wanting to hit a PR,  or just want to improve your overall physical health, we at Therapydia Nola are excited to help you reach those goals.

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