Free Expert Advice for Individuals In Search Of a Physical Therapist

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According to the article, 1expert advice for the millions who are referred to physical therapy each year as posted in the Washington Post on January 5, 2015, people ought to understand the basics of physical therapy. The instances where one needs to consult with a physical therapist could range from serious conditions such as arthritis or a patient recovering from surgery to aches and pains attained as age advances. Essentially, the work of a physical therapist is to aide individuals restore flexibility, boost strength and stabilize their joints. However, some techniques used by the physical therapists do more harm than good. The therapist may perform a validated remedy erroneously or conduct unnecessary exercises that a patient does not need for recovery.

Further, on, the authors advise the reader to be ready to push him or herself during their exercise routine. Relying too much on heat and ice does not speed up recovery and the physical therapist does not need to spend too much time applying these two on the injury. It is a fact that many therapists hesitate to push their patients especially in the case where they are old. In the case of a knee replacement, the author urges the reader not to agree to wear continuous passive motion machine because there is no proven evidence that this device works. Instead, the patient ought to participate in exercise as soon as 24 hours after surgery for quicker recovery. Whirlpools on the other hand, are of no significance in aiding recovery despite their use on wounds for more than 100 years.


Description of the authors’ foundations/resources utilized

The author of the article deliberated with experts at the American Physical Therapy Association in a bid to advice the reader on recommendations to quicker recovery when consulting a physical therapist. The American Physical Therapy Association is an individual US membership national association2 constituting of a pool of more than 90,000 professional physical therapists, physical therapists assistants and physical therapist students. The association seeks to improve and enhance the quality of life of individuals by making headway for physical therapist practice, education and research and expand awareness and apprehension of physical therapy’s role in the health care of the nation.


Target Audience

The editors of consumer reports target and seek to inform any reader because one never knows when they might get an injury or an accident that will require the services of a physical therapist. He does not limit the advice to those readers with serious conditions such as arthritis or back pain but also goes further to suggest that as age advances human beings begin to have problems with their joints and muscles requiring some form of physical therapy. With the contemporaneous problems associated with advancement in age, consulting for physical therapy is necessary. These recommendations also targets individuals who have gone through surgery and need help to regain and stabilize motion.


Accuracy of the Article

The use of ice and heat becomes necessary in physical therapy when combating pain. Physical therapists apply a cold compress to an area that is red and swollen or an injury that has just occurred to reduce the pain and reduce inflammation. Heat on the other hand, prepares the patient for exercise by increasing both blood circulation and tissue flexibility. Therefore, both heat and ice are only necessary before and/or after exercise. However, the use of ice is not highly encouraged by research. Ice stops the normal process of healing which has to start with inflammation followed by repair and finally remodelling. Use of ice means combating the first stage of healing which makes no sense. New evidence shows that passive physical agents are capable of harming patients.

Ice is applied on inflamed and swelled up injuries. Nonetheless, ice works best on application immediately after an injury occurs. Fundamentally, it constricts the blood vessels after application reducing inflammation. It also contributes to the joint becoming more mobile and enhances manual therapy. Additionally, it reduces swelling in soft tissue injuries.  Regardless of the benefits of using on injury, the application is limited to only 20 minutes immediately after injury. The ice could be in the form of ice massage, cold immersion, and icepacks or as a vapocoolant. The cooling effect of ice reduces the swelling and in the process controls the pain.

Heat on the other hand, reduces injuries caused by muscle spasms and tightness. The heat loosens the muscles and sanctions blood flow consequently allowing stretching. It allows the therapist to be more effective in helping the patient recover. Heat treatment is not applicable after an acute injury or after activity. Heat only penetrates 1-2 cm into the skin and deeper tissues do not heat up because of the subcutaneous layer of the skin. Both heat and ice treatment are modalities and do not eradicate the problem at hand but only reduce the pain.

The most effective approach to reduce pain is to work out rather than sleep it off. The body needs to undergo stress through strenuous exercise to achieve the desired and necessary physiological changes. The physical therapist should ensure the patient has a home exercise program to compliment the therapy sessions. Most physical therapists 4do not push older clients enough. If one wants to heal quickly they have to understand the importance of a bit of heavy exercise and research encourages them o even ask for more weights if possible to get stronger. Research shows that irritating the body through exercise desensitizes it and one feels less pain.

Therapists to re-educate the body on the proper movement and mechanics use manual therapy. It removes movement curtailments and assuages patients to move better. Manual therapy uses hands as opposed to a machine. Therapy practioners use their hands to put pressure on muscle joints as well as manipulate muscles to reduce pain. The main goals of manual therapy are to reduce pain, increase flexibility and relaxation. The forms of manual therapy are mobilization, massage and manipulation. The exercises performed during these sessions help avoid chronic diseases and aid people in becoming more active. Exercise promotes muscle strength and flexibility and fosters healing thereby shielding joints and bones. Manual therapy should form the backbone of all physical therapy treatment plans. Manual therapy depends on the person, the injury and the individual’s goals.

Continuous passive motion has no direct benefits to healing a replaced knee. In fact, the knee swelling persists longer than when a continuous passive motion is not used. The continuous passive motion is only beneficial after the first few days after surgery but no significant importance after six weeks. The only benefit in using continuous passive motion is that a patient increase initial motion faster than patients who do not use continuous passive motion. Overall, there is no evidence that continuous passive motion improves the outcome of a knee replacement. It also helps to reduce manipulation under anaesthesia and the risk of developing adverse events.

According to previous assumptions, CPM would eliminate stiffness due to the absence of scar tissue. Recent findings however show that CPM has benefits on the first days and weeks of surgery and thereafter there is no significant difference. In essence, the use of CPM does not matter. Essentially knees prove problematic because humans need excellent knee motion to partake in normal activities. The development of CPM was so 5that a patient could resume motion as soon as possible after surgery. Optimistically it would also alleviate stiffness. In administering application of CPM, one should consider the risk of prolonged bed rest, its cost and inconvenience.

Whirlpools need discontinuation as soon as there is no slough on a wound. Use of whirlpools3 increases the chances of infection and can cause damage to fragile tissue. Whirlpools have tabs that transfer bacteria from one individual to another. There is also a risk of transferring bacteria from one part of the body to the affected area. A patient using whirlpools may also need antibiotics because wounds typically take longer to heal. In the case where a patient immune system is weak, the infection can infect the blood causing sepsis. Additionally, the chemicals that are used to clean whirlpools may have an adverse effect on a patients wound.

It is the wish of every person to have his or her limbs function normally as nature intends. However, it is unfortunate that millions of people get referrals to a physical therapist in order to be able to use their limbs normally. These referrals could result from illnesses or injuries. These physical therapists work with individuals with the goal of regaining functional independence. They work hand in hand with the patient’s doctor and direct family members to achieve this goal. Through exercise, manipulation and movement of joints and massaging of muscles, a patient regains the full use of their limbs. The road to recovery requires discipline, dedication and persistence.


Relevance of the article to the Public

The article aims at educating the public when consulting the services of a physical therapist. It is vital that patients should understand the basics of physical therapy. They ought to understand their role as well as that of the physical therapists. Clearly defining roles ensures that both the patient and the physical therapists work effectively to achieve the long-term goals of the patient. The patient ought to understand that pain in physical therapy is important for faster recovery. Pain is inevitable if one wants a speedy recovery. It is important to understand the important role the individual plays during the whole process of recovery since information is power.

The knowledge provided creates awareness to the public. Creating insight enables patients to know what to expect from a physical therapist. When any consumer of a service or good goes to the market to buy from the supplier they expect to get the best bargain for their money’s worth. Hence, the information empowers the public to differentiate between quacks and real experts in the field. Consumer understanding also ensures customer satisfaction since the consumers know their rights and understand their needs as well. This article is also relevant because of the huge number of individuals who need physical therapy every year.

Physical therapists ought to reduce if not eradicate pain quickly as soon as they evaluate a patient. Patients come to see a therapist for a variety of reasons ranging from backaches, knee replacement and overuse injuries. On listening to a patient, 6the physical therapist comes up with a treatment plan that often includes passive modalities such as heat, ice or laser stimulation. However, manual therapy forms the basis for any physical therapy treatment. Manual therapy seeks to restore tissue functions through manipulation, massage and exercise. To regain use of a limb after muscle and tissue injuries takes four to six weeks of physical therapy.



  1. Consumer Reports. Expert advice for the millions who are referred to physical therapy each year. The Washington Post January 5, 2015. Available at Accessed on February 3, 2015
  2. American Physical Therapy Association. Available at Accessed on February 3, 2015
  3. Prentice WE, Quillen WS, Underwood, FB. Therapeutic Modalities in Rehabilitation. New York, USA: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2011.
  4. Sandy F. Sports & Exercise Massage: Comprehensive Care in Athletics, Fitness & Rehabilitation. St. Louis, USA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013.
  5. Gage, JR. The Identification and Treatment of Gait Problems in Cerebral Palsy. London, UK: Mac Keith Press; 2009.
  6. Comfort P, Abrahamson E. Sports Rehabilitation and Injury Prevention. New York, USA: John Wiley & Sons; 2010.

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