The 5 Major Types Of Physical Therapy

Most folks have a general idea of what physical therapy treatment is. It's easy to understand that physical therapy is intended to help folks develop or re-develop motor control, range of motion and strength to deal with day-to-day tasks. Every issue is different, though, and that means there need to be therapies aimed at the unique needs of individuals. Let's take a look at 5 of the most common kinds of therapies that are used.

Orthopedic Therapy

This is the kind that many people imagine when they think of physical therapy. It generally involves problems with the joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons in a person's body. Someone dealing with plantar fasciitis, for example, may need to undergo therapy to identify why issues are occurring and what corrections can be made to prevent discomfort, pain, and locomotion problems.

Neurological Therapy

A range of diseases and disorders can impair how the nervous system interacts with the rest of the body, and some injuries, such as brain trauma or spinal cord damage, can also lead to nerve dysfunction. Individuals often have to learn new ways to handle their bodies when these issues appear. Problems associated with neurological therapy may include vision, balance, and muscle impairments. In many of these cases, the goal is to achieve as high a level of independence of lifestyle as possible rather than completely restoring previous physical abilities.

Cardiopulmonary Therapy

Cardiovascular disorders and diseases can trigger similar types of impairments to those caused by neurological ones. There are also issues that can arise from conditions like COPD where a person has to learn to manage their bodily movements in order to minimize the strain on their cardiovascular system. In addition to improvement in lifestyle independence, patients are also frequently encouraged to re-develop lost endurance.

Pediatric Therapy

Kids who were born with birth defects or suffered injury during birth often have trouble with developing natural movements. For example, a child with a leg injury from birth may need some guidance when learning to walk. Parents are frequently not well-positioned to provide this support, and therapists can intervene early to ensure their childhood development stays on track.


Aging poses an array of challenges, with Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, and osteoporosis being among the most common. Individuals also may undergo procedures like joint replacements that challenge their movement. Staying mobile is critical to health as people age, and therapists can help clients adjust.