What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a conservative, non-invasive form of medical treatment that addresses conditions that cause pain and affect a patient’s ability to perform normal daily tasks or participate in recreational or sports activities. This includes acute conditions such as back pain, sprains, strains and fractures, as well as chronic conditions such as arthritis or tendonitis. In addition, patients often undergo physical therapy after joint replacements and reconstructive surgery.

Seeing a physical therapist early, in the acute phase of pain or injury, often leads to the best results. A recent study, published in May 2020 in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, found that people who get physical therapy early after the onset of low back pain have much better results than those who wait. Other studies, such as an October 2015 article published in JAMA, and a July 2020 article published in The Mental Health Clinician, have shown that early physical therapy improves disability and decreases pain and reduces the need for medication.1

Physical therapy services may only be delivered by licensed physical therapists and licensed physical therapist assistants.