What a Physical Therapist does
As a Physical Therapist does varying things depending on what kind of patient they meet, it can be hard to pinpoint what a Physical Therapist does. However, we can narrow it down a bit. The job of a Physical Therapists involves diagnosing, treating, and preventing conditions and injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system. This includes joints and muscles. For example, it often involves assessing the patient’s motor system, strength, mobility, and pain level. The focus is on rehabilitation exercises and lifestyle changes. Physiotherapy also involves, in many cases, treating the cause of health problems rather than stopping them by curing the symptoms.
What a Physical Therapist does
A Physical Therapist can both make diagnoses and treat a number of different conditions and health problems affecting muscles and joints. The first thing they do is to examine strength, movement patterns, and any pain. The next step is to make a diagnosis, unless the patient has already been given one previously. Then the treatment can begin.
Patients can also be helped in devising a personalized exercise program based on their individual issues. The activities can range from building up specific muscles and joints to learning new loading patterns. By learning to control their movements and practice keeping their balance, the patients’ whole body can benefit from numerous positive results.
What is the difference between a Physical Therapist and chiropractor?
Physiotherapy is an extensive area of knowledge. There are Physical Therapists who mainly use exercise as a form of treatment. Others may be specially trained in areas such as neurology, orthopedics or manual therapy. Manual therapy is similar to what a chiropractor does. However, physiotherapy is always evidence-based, i.e. scientifically proven, as Physical Therapists work in the healthcare sector.
Chiropractors work according to an image of the body as comprising joints. When these joints are subject to the wrong kind of strain, this can lead to different kinds of problems. According to the theory, problems can be resolved by manipulating the joint physically, often by using the hands. However, chiropractors can work in other ways, with a number of them also experts in the use of exercise as a form of treatment. However, chiropractic is not always evidence-based, which means that, in most cases, chiropractors cannot work in the subsidized Swedish healthcare sector.
How can a Physical Therapist help with osteoarthritis?
Anyone who is affected by osteoarthritis will hopefully be in frequent contact with a Physical Therapist. According to guidelines from Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare and international institutions, osteoarthritis should mainly be treated using exercise. Exercise should be personalized and carried out on a regular, long-term basis. As Physical Therapists focus only on rehabilitation exercises, this is the professional group that those affected by osteoarthritis will come into contact with.
Physical Therapists can make a diagnosis of osteoarthritis and start treating the patient immediately. But a doctor, such as an orthopedic specialist, can also refer patients with osteoarthritis for exercise as a form of treatment. This also works the other way around. For instance, if basic treatment in the form of exercise is not working, a Physical Therapist can also refer the patient to an orthopedic specialist. The aim is to ensure that all those affected by osteoarthritis have undergone extensive treatment before a possible prosthetic implant operation.