Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

What to know about physical therapy

What to Know About Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an approach to treating a wide range of injuries and conditions that is primarily built around improving the strength, stability and flexibility of the body. A physical therapist is an expert in biomechanics who can identify underlying causes of pain and limited mobility and recommend treatments to improve functioning. Because it seeks to improve overall health and wellness, physical therapy can be a core part of an effective treatment plan for many patients who are seeking a better quality of life. 

In any treatment journey, the first step should be educating yourself as a patient so you can take a proactive role in your care. By learning about the basics of physical therapy, you can decide if this is a treatment approach that can help you find the relief and level of activity you’re seeking.

As you take some time to look over the following quick and informative guide, we’re here to answer any questions you have and help you learn more about the treatment options we can offer. 

Education and credentials to look for in a physical therapist

Practicing physical therapists are required to have received a degree from an accredited school and pass a licensing exam administered by the state. Physical therapy degrees range from bachelor’s degrees to doctorates, which require an additional three years of postgraduate schooling to obtain. Physical therapists can also work with physical therapy assistants, who have received an associate degree, to help carry out a treatment plan. 

Physical therapy education is grounded in clinical sciences, with an emphasis on biomechanics and evidence-based kinesiology, which is the study of movement. A therapist must have the necessary background to review a patient’s medical history, ask them questions about their pain and mobility problems and perform a physical examination to identify the sources of these issues. Using this information, he or she can then start to develop a treatment plan using the techniques and methods available. 

Common conditions that physical therapy can treat

While many people associate it with injury and post-surgical rehabilitation, physical therapy can be used to relieve pain and restore lost functioning related to a large number of other conditions. Problems that physical therapy can help with include: 

  • Headaches and migraines
  • Neck and back pain 
  • Sciatica pain
  • Workplace injuries
  • Lymphedema
  • Shoulder pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Hip, knee, ankle and foot pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Auto injury rehabilitation
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation 
  • Sports injuries, including concussions

Since every person and medical condition is different, therapists must be able to provide highly individualized care and collaborate with patients to find the right course of treatment. 

Physical therapy treatment methods

Physical therapy treatment involves a combination of active and passive techniques that are designed to strengthen the body, particularly in the target area, while also promoting flexibility and range of motion. Depending on the therapist’s recommendation, physical therapy techniques can include: 

  • Manual therapy, including joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization
  • Therapeutic exercises, including strength, stability and flexibility exercises
  • Aquatic therapy 
  • Posture and balance training
  • Myofascial release, or trigger point therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Electrical stimulation

Another important aspect of physical therapy is patient education. Therapists will also give patients instructions on treatments and exercises they can perform at home to supplement in-office treatments. Physical therapy outcomes can also be helped by practicing a healthy lifestyle that includes staying active, eating a healthy diet and having proper posture. 

Peak Performance Sports and Physical Therapy 

Peak Performance was founded on a dedication to helping people suffering from pain and reduced function get back to the quality of life and activity level they deserve. We work with people of all ages, lifestyles and backgrounds to develop an effective plan of care and the right combination of treatments to achieve wellness goals. 

To learn more about our physical therapy services and to schedule your initial appointment, contact our team today.