Physical Therapy

OSPI Physical Therapy Treatment Approach

Physical therapy is a treatment option for many painful chronic health conditions. In a study where it was used to treat osteoarthritis, patients treated with exercise and manual physical therapy showed significant improvement after 4 weeks and one year of clinical treatment. The improvements involved less pain and stiffness, as well as improved functional ability and endurance.

physical therapy gilbert az


The therapy always require some exercise, which is tailored made to meet the individual’s requirement. The exercise is specifically designed for the treated condition, illness, injury, or to prevent future health problems. The physical therapist will teach you new ways of performing regular activities so you receive some health benefits. In addition, exercise often includes stretching, which is designed to reduce stress on joints, as well as core stability exercises to strengthen the muscles of the back and hips.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy, also called bodywork, is the term used for treatment performed with the therapist’s hands. The goals are decreased pain, relaxation, and increased flexibility. The types of manual therapy include:

  • Mobilization – Slowed, measured movements used to pull, twist, or push bone and joints into position. This treatment loosens tight tissues around a joint, which helps flexibility and alignment.
  • Massage – This is pressure applied to the soft tissues of the body (muscles). Massage relaxes muscles eases soft tissue pain and increases circulation.
  • Manipulation – Pressure applied to a joint is called manipulation, which can be done with a specialized device or the hands. This controlled force used on the joint can be slow or rapid.


Physical therapists use education to assist the patient manages chronic pain. This involves:

  • Protecting the joints to avoid re-injury
  • Performing daily tasks without injury
  • Doing home exercises
  • Making the home safe
  • Using assistive devices, such as wheelchairs or crutches

Specialized Physical Therapy Treatments

They are also trained to offer specialized treatments in Gilbert, AZ. These include:

  • Vestibular rehabilitation – TThis helps the inner ear respond to changes in the body position, which alleviates problems with vertigo (spinning sensation). This form of therapy helps you get used to the problem so you can handle it.
  • Wound care – Many patients with painful conditions have wounds that do not heal well. These wounds arise because of poor blood flow to the area, and they often require extensive care. This includes special cleaning and bandaging on a regular basis.
  • Decongestive lymphatic drainage – This is a special form of massage, used to reduce swelling caused when the lymphatic system does not drain fluids from the tissues.
  • Ultrasound therapy – It involves a special kind of device which uses high-pitched sound waves which will remove muscle spasms and relax muscles before doing any exercises. Ultrasound therapy give relief from inflammation and pain, promotes healing, and warms muscles.
  • Electrical stimulation – This is the use of short, mild electrical current to create some type of effect in the body. Physical therapists use electrical stimulation to reduce feelings of pain or muscle contraction. This therapy also helps wound healing.
  • Heat therapy – – Heat helps relax and heal the muscles and soft tissues with increase in blood circulation. This helps stiff joints and can increase mobilization. Heat also is used to relax muscles prior to exercise.
  • Ice therapy – Ice packs are useful for relieving pain, decreasing swelling, and lessening inflammation. Ice is recommended for 20 minutes at a time, several times each day.
  • Hydrotherapy – Also called water therapy, hydrotherapy is the use of water to treat a disease or maintain health. Water exercise is beneficial for people who have injuries or conditions that prevent weight-bearing.


In a study comparing the effectiveness of manual therapy (MT), such as spinal mobilization, physical therapy (PT), including exercise, and continued care by the general practitioner (meds and education), researchers found that MT and PT were more effective. Higher improvement scores were noted for MT for all outcomes, followed by PT. The success rate was 72% for MT and 59% for PT.


Hoving JL, de Vet HC, Koes BW, et al. (2006). Physical therapy,Manual therapy or continued care by the general practitioner for patients with neck pain: long-term results from a pragmatic randomized clinical trial. Clin J Pain, 22(4): 370-377.

WebMD (2013). Physical therapy. Retrieved from: