Outpatient Physical Therapy
What Is Outpatient Physical Therapy?
Outpatient physical therapy is rehabilitative care delivered in a physician’s office or walk-in clinic, rather than at an overnight or residential facility, such as a hospital, skilled nursing facility, or inpatient rehab facility. Like other forms of rehabilitative medicine, outpatient physical therapy is used to help patients dealing with bodily pain or dysfunction due to injury, illness, or some other medical condition. Physical therapy offers an extensive range of healing techniques and activities in a walk-in setting, though patients utilizing outpatient services tend to be more mobile and less constrained by their condition than individuals in the inpatient setting. Outpatient physical therapy also has the advantage of being less time-intensive and less disruptive of the daily routine.
Physical therapy is an increasingly important aspect of contemporary healthcare. An estimated nine-million American adults undergo some form of physical therapy on an annual basis, and that number is expected to grow with our aging population. If you or a family member is suffering from chronic pain or some form of slow-to-mend injury, see the specialists in physical therapy and rehabilitation at Baptist Health.
Who Receives Outpatient Physical Therapy?
Outpatient physical therapy is frequently provided for individuals with:
- Arthritis and joint pain: Physical therapy can help increase joint mobility and reduce arthritic pain and stiffness.
- Back, neck, and shoulder pain: Back and related pains can have a variety of causes, from injury and disc degeneration to repetitive stress and poor posture. Physical therapy provides an often-effective alternative to surgery and potentially addictive pain medications.
- Concussions: Concussions have a range of symptoms, including loss of balance. Physical therapy can address this through agility training and other beneficial exercises.
- Dizziness: An inner-ear condition, called positional vertigo, can be successfully treated with physical therapy methods.
- Joint-replacement issues: Physical therapy plays a critical role in the post-surgical care of patients with hip and knee replacements, helping them to adapt to changes in bodily operation.
- Rotator cuff injuries: An injured rotator cuff can benefit from the muscle strengthening and flexibility exercises of physical therapy.
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction: TMJ pain can be lessened and controlled by a physical-therapy program that focuses on posture, joint alignment, and jaw mobility.
Physical therapy can be utilized with numerous other medical conditions and disabilities.
How Does Outpatient Physical Therapy Work?
Outpatient physical therapy is a team sport. Any or all of the following personnel may be involved in administering a physical therapy program:
- Rehabilitation physician
- Rehabilitation nurses
- Physical therapist
- Occupational therapist
- Speech pathologist
Depending on circumstances, the medical team might also include a social worker, psychologist, therapeutic recreation specialist, dietician, and chaplain.
There are several steps common to any physical therapy program:
- An initial evaluation of your medical condition, physical capabilities, and healthcare goals prior to treatment.
- Development of a customized treatment plan centered on stretches, exercises, and/or other physical activities, with or without medical devices and equipment.
- Attendance at regularly scheduled therapy sessions, each lasting from 45 minutes to an hour.
- Continuation of assigned exercises or treatments at home between outpatient sessions.
Outpatient physical therapy is often coupled with other forms of care. The duration of treatment will depend on your physical condition, what you hope to accomplish, and how quickly you accomplish it.
Baptist Health offers the following physical therapy services in an outpatient setting:
- Orthopedic assessments of musculoskeletal problems
- Gait (manner of walking) analysis for walking problems
- Therapy for chronic pain problems
- Aquatic therapy for conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and strokes
- Manual therapy techniques including joint mobilization, positional release, strain/counter strain and muscle energy
- Diagnosis and rehabilitation of vestibular (dizziness and balance) disorders
- Pediatric rehabilitation services for developmental and physical problems
- Treatment of chronic, non-healing wounds
- Custom-fabricated arch supports
- Patient education and home program instruction
- Arthritis therapy
- Dry needling
How Do I Start Outpatient Physical Therapy?
Healing doesn’t happen overnight. The recovery period for a medical issue can extend far beyond the length of a hospital stay. That’s why post-acute care, in the form of outpatient physical therapy, has become a critical component in healthcare delivery. The therapeutic care provided by a specialty clinic can heal tissue, strengthen muscle, improve balance, and reduce or eliminate the pain resulting from an illness or injury. Contact your Baptist Health physician to get started.
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