Physical therapy is the use of physical exercises and natural factors in the complex process of restoring the health, physical condition, and ability to work of patients and the disabled for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes. It is an integral part of medical therapy and is used in all its periods and stages. Physical therapy is used in social and occupational therapy. Its means are therapeutic physical culture and massage, physiotherapy, mechanotherapy, etc.
Tasks and Principles of Physical Therapy
The main objectives of physical therapy are:
- functional recovery (complete or compensation for insufficient or no recovery);
- adaptation to everyday life and work;
- involvement in the labor process, etc.
Physical therapists are qualified to perform the following professional duties:
- Conducting a comprehensive examination (assessment of determining the needs of an individual patient/client).
- Making a therapeutic diagnosis, determining prognosis, and therapy plan.
- Providing advice within their competence and determining when patients should contact other medical professionals.
- Implementation of an intervention/treatment program drawn up by a physical rehabilitation specialist.
- Determination of the expected results of the intervention/treatment.
- Providing recommendations for independent functioning.
Fundamental knowledge of physical therapists about the structure of the body is of key importance for the implementation of diagnosis and intervention. Practices will vary depending on the purpose for which physical therapy methods are used to promote healthy lifestyles, prevention, treatment, or recovery.
Stages of Physical Therapy
The process of physical therapy includes:
- intervention planning;
Evaluation includes an examination of individual patients with actual or potential impairments, movement disorders, and functional impairments through history taking and the use of special analyzes and measurements.
Diagnosis and prognosis present the results of the clinical rationale, taking into account additional information from other specialists (if necessary). They can be expressed as a specific dysfunction of the motor apparatus or cover a complex of defects, limitation of body functions, loss of working capacity, disorders as a result of negative environmental influences, and limited opportunities.
Forecasting begins with the identification of care/intervention needs and typically leads to the development of a care/intervention plan, including the identification of a specific realistic goal in collaboration with the patient. The intervention/treatment is delivered and modeled to achieve pre-agreed goals and may include:
- physical exercises;
- physical, electrotherapeutic, and mechanical means;
- motor exercises;
- provision of aids;
- patient education and counseling.
Physical therapy may be aimed at preventing impairment, activity limitation, disability, disability, and injury, including the promotion and maintenance of health, quality of life, work capacity, and well-being in any age or social group.