What is Physical Therapy?

Originally published July 2, 2015

What is Physical Therapy? And How It Can Benefit You!

Maybe a friend of yours has completed six weeks of it after surgery, a parent has received it after a fall, or your doctor has written you a prescription for it but you’re still left wondering, “What is physical therapy?”

In essence, physical therapy is treatment to help restore movement and improve function especially when health problems make it difficult to move around or perform daily tasks. Physical therapy can be administered in hospitals, private practices and within your home.

Physical therapy is individualized care.

Physical therapy is an all-inclusive treatment as it benefits people of all ages and all activity levels to help return to and even improve their quality of life!

Because every body is different, your physical therapist will evaluate and administer treatment based on your specific needs. Each exercise is tailored to you and is gradually modified to enhance and improve your movement and function. Each hands on activity is guided by how you move, how you feel, and how your body responds to the treatment.

Treatment may include:

  • Skilled, hands-on manual therapy.
  • Targeted exercise programs.
  • Specialized therapy modalities, such as hot or cold packs, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and infrared light therapy.
  • Education concerning your condition and how to correct, alleviate or manage symptoms.
  • Communicating with your physician and other healthcare professions to create synergistic care for treatment.

Physical Therapists are the wellness and fitness experts!

Physical therapists are “highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility” (“Who Are Physical Therapists?,” 2014). In other words, they are highly-qualified movement experts that improve mobility through hands-on techniques as well as corrective and restorative exercises.

Your physical therapist can also help you improve strength, endurance, coordination and alignment for rehabilitation and recovery, as well as future injury prevention.

Physical therapy can help you manage a number of conditions. 

Physical therapy can help those who have had surgery or those suffering from arthritis, balance issues, fractures, sprains, vertigo and everything in between!

We often treat:

  • Joint pain
  • Post-surgical conditions such as rotator cuff repairs and joint replacements
  • Gait, balance and postural alignment-related disorders
  • Strains and inflammation such as those caused by ACL or ankle injuries and tendonitis
  • Back pain including sciatica
  • Bone-related disorders such as arthritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia
  • Sports-related injury and prevention
  • Many other orthopedic, neurological, and geriatric conditions

You are a direct contributor to your health.

Physical therapists assess, treat, and give you the necessary tools to thrive. It is your direct participation in performing these prescribed exercises and modifying certain patterns that contribute to your overall success. It is amazing how even simple adjustments can significantly improve your life!

We have a book of success stories in our office filled with patients who are amazed by how physical therapy changed their lives! Come by and have a look!

Try Physical Therapy First!

Here at Lafayette Physical Therapy, we’re spreading the word that physical therapy is also preventative treatment. Physical therapy is a preventative measure that can help to relieve and manage symptoms or injury, but it is also an alternative to prevent future injuries and disorders as well as prescription pain medication and even surgery!

Always consult your medical care professional concerning your specific condition to see if physical therapy is a good option for you!

The skilled, hands-on treatment and specially prescribed exercises from a physical therapist can help you get back to your best (or even better)! What are you waiting for?

Give us a call at (925) 284-6150 to discuss your physical therapy options!

Written by Valerie Watase, PT  Owner and Director of Lafayette Physical Therapy  &  Jenni Perez, B.A. Communications 
Arranged and Edited by Julia Slater Community Outreach Coordinator


Benefits of Physical Therapy. (2015). In Move Forward PT. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. (2014, December 29). In American Physical Therapy Association.  Retrieved July 25, 2015.
Role of a Physical Therapist. (2015, April 8). In American Physical Therapy Association.  Retrieved July 24, 2015.
Who Are Physical Therapists? (2014, September 28). In American Physical Therapy Association.  Retrieved July 27, 2015.


This article is intended as general health information and is not intended to provide individual specific medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or any other individual. Please consult your doctor or a medical professional before starting or changing a fitness or nutrition program.

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