Anytime you sustain a serious injury, all you want is to return to your full strength as quickly as possible. The best way to ensure a swift and complete recovery is to get the right type of care.
After an injury, you probably first go to the emergency department, your general practitioner, or a specialist to mend your wounds or receive any necessary surgical intervention. These first steps are crucial to treat any regressive conditions and mend major discomforts.
After treatment, you and your doctor will shift attention to the recovery stage of your care. For significant injuries, the recovery process is critical, because immobility, misalignments, swelling, and soreness can cause:
- a delayed start to physical therapy,
- an extended recovery period, and
- a need for further medical intervention.
For those reasons, medical professionals advise patients to take the recovery process seriously. A relaxed approach to therapy can lead to costly setbacks or development of a chronic condition.
Types of Physical Therapy
If you need physical therapy, your next step is to see the right specialist. Physical therapists (PTs) who are well versed on specific types of injuries will be more adept at identifying and treating signs and symptoms that will influence your recovery. A PT who specializes in sports injuries, for instance, will innately know what restrictions and limitations their patients are facing, and they can confidently suggest movements, exercises, and tips most likely to provide a positive response from a patient with a sports injury.
Based on your injury and symptoms, consider a specialist PT; the following are some of the types of physical therapy available:
Pediatric physical therapy — Given the development ahead of young patients, pediatric PTs understand how to push young patients forward safely and sensibly. Pediatric specialists understand the balance of sensitive young bodies, while also respecting long-term risks.
Geriatric physical therapy — Age affects us all uniquely. A well-trained geriatric PT will understand the nuance of guiding an older patient through injury recovery. Geriatric PTs know how to account for previous and active injuries and conditions while ushering patients through a complete and low-risk recovery process. They will know exercises, accessories, and diet recommendations that are particularly relevant to older patients, while also strategically discerning each patient’s pace of recovery.
Vestibular rehabilitation — Many unique conditions can result from a seemingly mundane injury or, of course, a traumatic injury like a car accident or concussion. Vestibular specialists address balance issues (matters of the inner ear). This specialty stretches the expertise and experience of a general PT. Vestibular conditions are typically chronic, but vestibular therapists know how to train their patients to adapt and improve their balance over time.
Neurological physical therapy — Neurological conditions are highly sensitive and complex. Progress by patients with neurological conditions is very gradual. PTs who specialize in neurological care know how to accommodate patients with severe symptoms and numerous conditions.
Orthopedic physical therapy — Orthopedic specialists have a deep understanding of the musculoskeletal system. In particular, PTs specializing in orthopedics should be preferred by patients who experience loss of strength as a result of their injury.
Hand therapy — With 27 bones, 27 joints, 34 muscles, and 100 tendons and ligaments, there is a lot in the hand that can go wrong. Because we use hands so often, we need to be careful when treating them. Hand therapists are adept at making microadjustments and astute recommendations to assist their patients in regaining full use of their hands.
Women’s health — For any number of reasons, a woman may choose to see a physical therapist who specializes in women’s health. The more confident you feel in your treatment, the greater is the likelihood that you will experience further success with your therapy. Feeling that you are understood and your needs are being met will build your confidence in the recovery process.
Sports therapy — Athletes can have different needs than other patients because their bodies goes through different levels of exertion on a regular basis. If you sustain a sports injury, you’re going to want a PT who understands how to maximize the recovery process to regain and retain the degree of strength, flexibility, coordination, and explosiveness that is essential to perform at a high level.
Physical Therapy vs. Occupational Therapy
In addition to the many specialties within the field of physical therapy, occupational therapists are medical specialists who work closely with injury recovery as it pertains to the patient’s ability to function independently. Any medical specialist is going to want to get the most out of their patients by treating them and recommending holistically positive health advice; however, training and hands-on experience can make a significant difference in the results that a given patient will see.
Occupational therapists are most relevant for patients experiencing issues with fine motor skills or behavioral problems. Compared with PTs, occupational therapists address physical issues through a holistic and lifestyle-based lens, rather than just a medical lens. The knowledge and exercise emphasis of occupational therapists focuses on promoting independence by assisting injured patients to dress, clean, feed, and pay for themselves. Patients will have in-depth discussions with their occupational therapist to reveal what actions are most essential to return to an optimal lifestyle.
You Can Find the Right Care for Your Needs
Never before have we had the versatility of medical experts and resources to use for our health and wellbeing. No matter what injury you sustain, YOU have the ability to seek providers who can skillfully address your unique needs.
Patients who sustain one of the serious injuries represented on InjuredCare.com do not have to settle for generic medical care. Consider the full extent of your condition, and which of the above types of therapy would best treat your symptoms. You can then use our Provider Directory to find the nearest specialist in your area.