Physical Therapy: What It's All About

October is National Physical Therapy Month. The month long celebration is used to increase awareness of the valuable role physical therapists and physical therapy assistants can play in assisting people with decreased pain, improved mobility, and improved lifestyles. Ben Benesh, Physical Therapist at Aurora Health Care states, “Physical therapy is a conservative approach to treat patient ailments. It’s an alternative approach to surgery or pharmaceuticals. Physical therapy can improve musculoskeletal and neurological functions.” A physical therapist can help with arthritis, back pain, fitness, knee pain, obesity, osteoporosis, overuse injuries, shoulder pain, stroke rehabilitation, sprains, strains, fractures, and much more. 

A physical therapist is someone who applies research and proven techniques to help restore motion to a patient. All physical therapists have a graduate degree – either a master’s degree or a clinical doctorate – from an accredited physical therapy program. They are then required to complete a national and state licensure examination. Physical therapists can provide care for people in a variety of settings including hospitals, private practices, schools, outpatient clinics, sports and fitness facilities, nursing homes and work settings. “The role of a physical therapist is to reduce pain and restore functional mobility. Physical therapists are experts in movement that specialize in musculoskeletal injuries,” explains Benesh. “Physical therapy assistants are the only other licensed health care providers that render physical therapy services under the supervision of a physical therapist.” Physical therapy assistants also complete clinical education through an associate degree program and also have to pass a state and national licensure examination. Physical therapy assistants often provide services such as therapeutic exercise, functional training, deep soft tissue massage, and physical modalities such as electrotherapy and ultrasound.
Everyone can benefit from physical therapy. Aging adults can use physical therapy programs for fall risk management, improved balance and increased strength. “Osteoarthritis, specific to the knee and shoulder, a physical therapist can have a great impact without surgical intervention,” states Benesh.  The American Physical Therapy Association states that people are often referred to a physical therapist for rehabilitation from a major medical trauma or surgery, however research suggests that treatment by a physical therapist is often equally effective, and cheaper, than surgery and prescription drugs.  Most states allow a patient to make an appointment with a physical therapist without a direct referral from their physician. “If the patient is not a good candidate for physical therapy, the physical therapist would refer the patient on to the appropriate health care professional,” explains Benesh.

Aurora Health Care in Oshkosh Physical Therapy department offers the following services:
  • Running analysis
  • Concussion management
  • Vestibular rehabilitation
  • TMJ therapy
  • Neurological rehabilitation
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation
  • Sports Medicine
  • Cancer program
  • Osteoporosis program
  • Spine rehabilitation
“Physical therapy is an individualized evaluation of a multitude of ailments,” adds Benesh. “It is our hope to establish a comprehensive program the patient can carry on for the duration of their life for preventive health and general health maintenance.”

Benesh concludes, “People should consider having a physical therapist like they have any other health care provider such as a dentist, primary care physician or chiropractor.” To learn more about how physical therapy can benefit you, contact Aurora Health Care at 303-8700.