Physical therapy jobs are an integral part of helping people who’ve suffered injuries back to full strength. The scope of injuries that require physical therapy vary greatly. Physical therapy jobs could cover treatment for everything from a sprained ankle to a broken neck. The tools available to physical therapists are designed to help a patient regain the movement, strength and ease in injured parts of the body. For people whoever have suffered a head injury or other neurological problem, physical therapy jobs may consist of helping them to re-learn many everyday activities that help promote an individual lifestyle. This may include bathing, cooking, cleaning or even eating. Cognitive skills development to help restore functions that were lost or damaged as part of the injury are also included in physical therapy services.
Water is an effective form of healing, and aquatic therapy is a widely seen tool in many physical therapy jobs and school therapy jobs. Some treatments involve full body immersion, while others only use partial immersion. Aquatic therapy may take place is specialized tanks or in pools or hot tubs. Contrast baths where the blood vessels are stimulated through alternate hot and cold treatments are also a treatment that takes place in water. Agitated water is generally used in whirlpools to help relieve stiff muscles, muscle spasms, increase circulation and cleanse wounds.
Heat and cold application to injured area is another widely seen element in school therapy jobs and other physical therapy jobs. Sometimes the situation calls for dry heat, while other times moist heat is required. Alternating hot and cold packs is a way to improve circulation, relieve pain and reduce swelling. Often, hot and cold packs are one of the first treatments used to treat an injury in a physical therapy setting. Sometimes, electrical stimulation is also used to help stimulate muscles when a serious injury has occurred. Circulation can also be improved with the use of infrared light on the injured area. Infrared light helps to reduce muscle spasm and pain.
One of the more challenging parts of physical therapy jobs is gait training. When a neurological injury has robbed the patient of his ability to walk, gait training must be performed to reclaim the walking skills. Sometimes, gait training takes place with the use of assistive devices like walkers or crutches. If the injury is such that the walking ability is not expected to improve, gait training probably won’t be used. If the patient has had an amputation, prosthetic training may be employed to teach him how to get around with the new prosthetic limb.
Massage therapy is another aspect of physical therapy jobs or school therapy jobs that helps to restore feeling and movement and circulation to affected areas. Massage may be done manually or with the help of a machine. The way that a physical therapist helps a patient restore muscle strength and ease is through various therapeutic exercises. These may include stretches, range of motion exercises, body weight exercises or movements with light weights or resistance bands. Sometimes, the exercises are performed with the help of the therapist, while other times the patient provides all of the strength himself.