Definition of Physical Therapy

A therapeutic approach to maintain or improve the biomechanics of the body.

Physical therapy employs many modalities (types of treatments) including passive and active range of motion exercises, therapeutic massage, hydrotherapy, therapeutic ultrasound, heat and cold, strengthening exercises, flexibility exercises, and balance exercises.

In the United States physical therapy requires a doctor’s prescription.

The doctor may prescribe physical therapy for people recovering from serious injury, surgery, or STROKE. Physical therapy also is helpful for conditions of impaired motor function such as cerebral palsy and Parkinson’s disease.

See also OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY; QUALITY OF LIFE; STRENGTH.

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