by Catherine Brzozowski

If you have experienced a debilitating injury or illness, the road to recovery may seem daunting. Any serious injury, illness or condition that causes pain, physical impairment and limited movement often incorporates physical therapy treatment. Physical therapy treatment includes an evaluation, assessment and treatment from a specially trained physical therapist.

Physical therapists provide various treatment methods and techniques to help you participate in your recovery. Through the use of various modalities, physical therapists can help patients to improve strength, balance, flexibility, posture and overall quality of life. Pain-free movement is crucial to your quality of life, your ability to earn a living and your independence.

Physical therapy helps people of all ages who have medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that limit their regular ability to move and function. How can physical therapy benefit you?

Reduce or eliminate pain – Therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques such as joint and soft tissue mobilization, or treatments such as ultrasound, taping or electrical stimulation can help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function. Physical therapists are experts in treating pain because they will identify areas of weakness or stiffness that may be adding stress to painful areas to get to the source of the pain and personalize treatment.

Avoid surgery – Did you know that if physical therapy helps you eliminate pain or heal from an injury, you may not need surgery? Even if surgery is required, you may benefit from pre-surgery physical therapy. When you go into surgery stronger and in better shape, you can recover faster afterwards.

Improve mobility – If you’re having trouble standing, walking or moving, physical therapy can help no matter your age. Flexibility and strengthening exercises help restore movement. Physical therapists can properly fit individuals with any assistive device such as a cane, crutches or any other device, and are able to customize an individual care plan so that whatever activity is important to an individual’s life can be adapted to ensure maximal performance and safety.

Recover from a stroke – It’s common to lose some degree of functionality and movement post-stroke. Physical therapists can improve stroke patients’ ability to transfer and move around in bed so that they can be more independent around the home, and reduce their burden of care for toileting, bathing, dressing and other activities of daily living. Physical therapy helps strengthen the weakened parts of the body and improve gait and balance.

Recover from or prevent a sports injury – Physical therapists are specially trained to understand how various sports can increase your risk for specific types of injuries, and can design appropriate recovery and prevention exercise programs to ensure a safe return to your sport.

Improve your balance and prevent falls – Physical therapists initially screen new patients for fall risk. If you’re at high risk for falls, therapists will provide exercises that safely challenge your balance to better prepare you for real-life situations.

Physical therapy helps to improve many conditions, including diabetes and vascular conditions, heart and lung disease, age-related issues and women’s health concerns. Regain independence and improve your life through the benefits of physical therapy. Chestnut Hill Hospital has physical therapy treatment and rehabilitation services that include physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Our specially trained physical therapists have a master’s or doctorate degree and are state-licensed. They provide one-on-one evaluation and have a therapist to patient ratio of 1:1 or 1:2. Personal care plans are offered as well, which includes education, functional training, manual therapy techniques, custom splinting and bracing, therapeutic exercise, interventions and modalities. Learn more at

Catherine Brzozowski is the director of communications at Chestnut Hill Hospital.