Where to Get Physical Therapy
Physical therapy (PT) often starts with a prescription from your doctor. You might need PT after an injury or after surgery. Or, you might have a long-term health condition that PT could help.
And, just as physical therapy can help in many situations, it's also available in many settings.
Sometimes, it's best to start physical therapy as soon as possible. That means it might start while you're still in the hospital after an injury, surgery or serious medical condition. For instance, PT after a stroke starts in the hospital. It may begin within days of the event.
Others who might start PT in the hospital include people:
Who've had knee or hip replacement surgery
- With a spinal cord injurybr>
- With a broken bonebr>
- Who have an infected woundbr>
- Receiving care for burnsbr>
You may get treatment at a rehab center as a bridge between care at a hospital and care at home. This may be the case for people who've had joint replacement surgery or a spinal cord injury. They may move to a rehab center once they no longer need hospital care. People at a rehab center often get three or more hours of PT each day. That much treatment helps you get home and able to care for yourself more quickly.
Many physical therapists make house calls. Those who often get PT at home include:
People who will have a long recovery from surgery or injury
Those recovering from a stroke
People who have long-term pain
People with a condition that makes them likely to fall
Those with chronic lung disease or heart disease
People who have trouble controlling their bowels or bladder
This setting works for people who are mobile but need PT for a nagging injury or other problem. For instance, they might have a condition that limits movement or causes pain. They're not in the hospital or a rehab center. And, they can get around so they don't need at-home PT. Common reasons for choosing this option include:
Low back pain
Muscle and other soft tissue sprains and strains, including sports and repetitive stress injuries
People who cannot care for themselves at home may move to a nursing home. Some stay for a short while until they can return home. Others who are more frail may stay long-term. PT can help them be better able to do basic things day to day. It also can help prevent further loss of mobility and more injury.
Athletes and others who want to improve their physical fitness might work with a physical therapist who specializes in sports PT. This can help:
Improve your skills
Start or re-start a fitness program
Recover from an injury
If you’re just starting out and looking for a physical therapist on your own, search Healthgrades.com for a physical therapist in your area. Keep in mind that therapists may focus their practice in certain conditions, such as joint replacement rehabilitation, or populations, such as children. Knowing the specific training and expertise of the physical therapist will help you find a good match for your needs.