Physical Therapy 101

If you’re experiencing pain or limitations in mobility in your spine, shoulder, hip, knee, foot or ankle, you may be suffering unnecessarily from a condition that physical therapy can alleviate or eliminate. We recommend contacting your doctor to learn more about what might be causing your discomfort, and about whether or not physical therapy can help.

Rebound operates two physical therapy clinics in the Portland/Vancouver area. Six physical therapists are supported by two physical therapy assistants and PT aides, all of whom are intricately connected to the orthopedists and neurosurgeons in Rebound’s practice. Because our doctors and our physical therapists work so closely together, patients are assured they’re receiving the best possible course of treatment, both surgical and non-surgical, and pre- and post-surgery.

Physical therapists are trained and licensed to evaluate, diagnose and treat impairment, functional limitations and disabilities. Rebound physical therapists have a Doctor Physical Therapy, Masters in Physical Therapy or Bachelor’s degrees, with additional post-graduate specialization certifications.

Physical therapists use exercises, assistive devices, education, training and a wide range of non-surgical treatments to restore movement and physical function in patients impaired by injury and to help in recovery following a surgical procedure. Sometimes physical therapy is used as an alternative to more invasive treatments such as surgery. Patients also visit PTs to enhance performance and learn injury prevention techniques.  The goals are always the same: preserve, enhance and restore a patient’s abilities to move and perform functional activities.

Physical therapy often involves interaction not only between patients and therapists, but families, caregivers and a patient’s physician. For injury and rehabilitation, our PTs work with a patient’s provider to determine a diagnosis and establish a management plan that may involve one or several of the following modalities:

Exercise. Exercise is used to improve strength, flexibility and range of motion, and to help patients recover from joint replacement, ACL repair, rotator cuff repair and other surgeries. Active therapies involve movements done within a patient’s own power and ability. Passive therapies involve the PT applying appropriate stress to a patient’s muscles and joints. Exercise is incorporated into most physical therapy programs, and include activities that patients will be instructed to perform at home on their own.

Traction. Especially helpful for those who suffer from lower back pain and neck pain. Helps to decrease pain and increase spine mobility by creating space between joints and discs, alleviating pressure on spinal nerves.

Joint Mobilization. Joint mobilization is used as a conservative method for treating osteoarthritis, the most common cause of joint disease. (in line link to joint replacement page)The PT applies passive pressure to a patient’s joints, in order to create a gliding motion that decreases pain and increases mobility

Manual Techniques. The PT applies pressure to affected areas to reduce muscle tension, improve circulation and decrease pain.

Heat and/or Ice. Both are used to reduce pain and swelling, improve circulation and relax muscles. Sometimes ultrasound (or the deep heating of tissue) and electrical stimulation are used to enhance the effect of these treatments.