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Exploring Options for Physical Therapy on the Central Coast

If you have sustained an injury or undergone orthopedic surgery, physical therapy can provide significant pain relief and get you moving again.

As a short-term rehabilitative treatment, physical therapy, or PT, can help you avoid prescription pain medicine or surgery. In some cases, your Dignity Health Central Coast health doctor may recommend physical therapy as part of a long-term treatment plan for a chronic illness.

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Gaining Mobility Through Physical Therapy at Dignity Health Central Coast

Physical therapy is known to be effective for many orthopedic conditions. You may enjoy the benefits of physical therapy if you have:

  • Chronic pain resulting from lupus, fibromyalgia, or migraine headaches
  • Repetitive stress injuries and sports injuries that lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, fractures, dislocated joints, and soft tissue tears
  • Lung and heart diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart attack
  • Joint, bone, and muscle conditions, including arthritis, back pain, herniated disc, trigger points, and muscle strain
  • Joint replacement surgery, including revision joint replacement or partial or total joint replacement
  • Neurological and brain conditions, such as spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)

Due to the wide range of conditions that physical therapy can effectively treat, physical therapists often have a specialty area, such as orthopedic conditions. Your Dignity Health Central Coast doctor will recommend a physical therapist who specializes in treating your specific condition.


What to Expect When Working with a Physical Therapist

Physical therapy is a hands-on approach to stimulate healing by improving your flexibility, movement, and strength. It helps people of all ages reduce pain, delay or prevent disability, and improve mobility.

During your first visit with your Dignity Health Central Coast physical therapist, you will discuss your medical history, along with your condition and symptoms. Be as specific as possible when working with your physical therapist to help with the development of a personalized treatment plan.

To aid your recovery, healing, and mobility, your therapist will observe, measure, and test your balance, strength, posture, and range of motion.

There are many types of physical therapy, including:

  • Education about specific techniques, along with exercises that can be done at home
  • Range-of-motion exercises to assist with joint mobility
  • Hands-on therapy, such as massage

Your physical therapist also may use water therapy or chest physiotherapy. Gait and treadmill training can help with your coordination, balance, and stability, while electrical stimulation, which includes transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), can help improve blood flow. Therapeutic ultrasound and hot and cold therapy can also improve healing.