Physical therapy is all about mobility. Your ability to move. There are a number of things that can lead to limited mobility: injury, illness, pain, weakness. Physical therapists investigate and evaluate the reason for these limitations and develop a plan in order for you to recover some or all of your movement. I use an integrative approach to treatment which includes communication, education, manual therapy and movement training that are applied through various stages in the physical therapy process.
DiazPT Stages of Physical Therapy
The physical therapy process consists of multiple stages. It begins with the investigation into the root causes of your limited mobility. The Information Gathering stage consists of interviewing, questionnaires, functional assessments and special testing in order to collect the information needed to begin the next stage, Goal Setting. From the data collected during the first stage, we will have a better understanding of potential reasons for your limited mobility and be able to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time based goals. These are called SMART goals and they are the most effective way to measure your progress toward improved mobility.
The next stage is Education. At this point, you will learn various ways to address the problems that were discovered during Information Gathering so that you may meet your SMART goals. This may include things like pain education, corrective exercises, movement strategies, pain management and soft tissue mobilization techniques.
Now it’s time to put everything into action. The Implementation stage is the period of time that you begin using everything you have learned in order to improve your mobility. It’s the home exercise program that was developed, it’s the follow up sessions, it’s the mindfulness practice, it’s the daily walks, it’s putting everything into practice. Now that we are doing the work, we need to take time to check in and see how things are going. This is the Assessment stage, when we take a look at your progress and see what is or is not working in your program. It may mean staying the course, tweaking a few things or starting all over with a new program. Which brings us right back to the beginning, Information Gathering. How are things going? What needs to be changed? Should we set new SMART goals? If so, do you need to learn new tools to meet these goals? Once you’ve had time to try the new techniques, how did they help? On and on and on.
The Stages of Physical Therapy are continuous. They encompass the first visit as well as the treatment program as a whole. They are utilized during each follow up visit and each home session. Gathering information, setting goals, educating yourself, implementing what you have learned and assessing its effectiveness on a continual basis will allow you to improve and maintain your mobility for the long term.