What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy (PT) is a skilled practice concerned with human movement, rehabilitation, and wellness. This includes physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being. PT involves the interaction between physical therapists, patients/clients, other health care professionals, families, care givers, and communities. Goals are agreed upon and there is a focus on improving quality of life.
How are physical therapists educated?
Physical therapists (PTs) are highly educated and board-certified clinicians. PTs receive specialized training in a variety of sciences related to human movement. They understand how the body works and how to get you moving again. They know how to manage all of the body’s major systems to restore and maximize mobility.
What will a physical therapist do for me?
A PT will complete a comprehensive examination of each patient to determine what treatment options are needed. A PT may use equipment, manual techniques, exercise, or modalities to assist in reaching the goals of the patient. After a few weeks of treatment, the PT will assess progress, determine outcomes and make further recommendations.
When should I start physical therapy?
It is never too early to meet with a physical therapist. It is appropriate to see a PT if you experience symptoms that affect your mobility or balance. Are you already experiencing symptoms that affect your mobility, balance or activities of daily living? Then you should schedule an appointment with a physical therapist as soon as possible! Please see this page for all the benefits of physical therapy.
If you are not experiencing symptoms that affect your daily life, you may still benefit from seeing a PT for physical activity recommendations. A PT can help you devise a lifelong health and wellness program that can prepare you for the things to come. We know that regular physical activity, stretching, healthy eating and relaxation can prepare you to fight MS. A PT is skilled in devising wellness programs and can teach you ways to stay active and healthy. The earlier you can start a health and wellness program, the better! You should find a physical therapist in your area that is skilled in working with the complexities of multiple sclerosis.
What is my role in physical therapy?
To be successful with physical therapy, the patient will need to be active in the management of his or her care. Home exercises or lifestyle recommendations are often made with the intention of gaining the most successful outcome for the patient. Generally, people enjoy the time shared with their PT and find participating in physical therapy extremely beneficial to their overall health and wellness.
Do I need a referral for physical therapy?
In the state of North Carolina a prescription or referral from a physician is not legally necessary to receive physical therapy treatment. BUT... some insurance companies require a physician referral to reimburse for PT services. Therefore, it is wise to ask your primary care provider or neurologist to write you a prescription for PT services. Your neurologist should be able to recommend a physical therapist in your community that has experience working with people with multiple sclerosis.
Is there anything I can do at home?
Remember that these are just a few of the many possibilities for exercise, and your PT can help you determine the most appropriate exercises for your abilities!
Please click here for general ideas for sitting and standing exercises that may be beneficial for someone with MS. However, please note that it is recommended that a physical therapist helps you create a personalized program and determines what exercises will be effective and safe for YOU.
The chapter also offers a comprehensive lending library of materials related to home exercise. The library contains books and DVDs on yoga, tai chi, strengthening and stretching programs. Access the library here.
Information on local exercise programs including aquatics, yoga, tai chi and fitness, can be found by clicking here.
*Disclaimer: Everyone has different physical activity capabilities and safety needs, so it is advised to consult a health care professional before pursuing any of these activities.