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Physical Therapy Q & A
A physical therapist is a licensed health care professional who provides services that help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities in patients suffering from injuries or disease. They restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health. Their patients include accident victims and individuals with disabling conditions, such as low-back pain, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, head injuries, and cerebral palsy.
Physical therapy includes therapeutic exercise and functional training. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may "manipulate" a joint (that is, perform certain types of passive movements at the end of the patient's range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists may use other techniques, such as electrotherapy, ultrasound (high-frequency waves that produce heat), hot packs, and ice in addition to other treatments when appropriate.
Duration depends on several factors:
- Doctor Recommendation. The physical therapist will work with your physician to determine how long physical therapy should last.
- Progress. Everyone heals at different rates, so don't compare yourself with someone else's rate of improvement, even if that person has sustained the same injuries. This also has to do with your pain tolerance and motivation.
- Exercising at home. Physical therapy is not just about seeing your therapist once a week at the clinic and doing your exercises. Therapists will prescribe exercises that need to be completed at home. This will affect how long physical therapy lasts. Compliance of exercise home program will help you achieve your functional goals quicker.
- Extent of injury. A serious injury will take longer to heal in physical therapy than a milder injury. For example, if you've broken bones in addition to tearing ligaments or damaging tendons, you'll probably take longer in therapy than if you hadn't sustained a broken bone. If you have multiple injuries (i.e., shoulder and knee), you'll also be spending more time in therapy because you'll have to work at the pace of both injuries.
Speech Therapy Q & A
Speech-language pathologists, sometimes called speech therapists, assess, diagnose, treat, and help to prevent disorders related to speech, language, cognitive-communication, voice, swallowing, and fluency.
Speech-language pathologists work with people who cannot produce speech sounds or cannot produce them clearly; those with speech rhythm and fluency problems, such as stuttering; people with voice disorders, such as inappropriate pitch or harsh voice; those with problems understanding and producing language; those who wish to improve their communication skills by modifying an accent; and those with cognitive communication impairments, such as attention, memory, and problem-solving disorders. They also work with people who have swallowing difficulties.
Individual speech therapy sessions usually last between 30 and 60 minutes. The overall course of speech therapy may last only a few weeks or may continue for several years, depending on the condition and progress of the patient. Often when speech therapy has begun, there is no set time limit in mind for when it will end.
Occupational Therapy Q & A
Occupational therapists help patients improve their ability to perform tasks in living and working environments. They work with individuals who suffer from a mentally, physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabling condition. Occupational therapists use treatments to develop, recover, or maintain the daily living and work skills of their patients. The therapist helps clients improve their basic motor functions and reasoning abilities as well as compensate for permanent loss of function. The goal is to help clients have independent, productive, and satisfying lives.
Occupational therapy is therapy based on performing the meaningful activities of daily life (self-care skills, education, work, or social interaction), especially to enable or enhance participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning. Occupational therapy is for individuals of all ages to improve skills that help them perform daily tasks at home, school and work.
Because occupational therapy is unique to each person and everyone learns at his or her own speed, treatment may last a short time or a long time. Patients can help speed up treatment by following the instructions of their occupational therapist. It's important to work hard and practice on your own. If you want to know why your occupational therapist has you doing a specific action, ask, "Why are we doing this, and how will it help me?"