The 4 Types of Physical Therapy That Can Improve Your Mobility

It’s easy to take your ability to run and jump, get in and out of your car, and sign your name for granted. You’ve been performing these daily activities your whole life with no thought and little effort. Then suddenly (or not so suddenly), an injury or illness robs you of your mobility and leaves you on the sidelines. 

You may look to medications and surgical intervention to restore your function — and those modalities certainly have a valid place in your treatment — but don’t overlook one of the most effective components in your recovery: physical therapy. Physical therapy is more than just stretching and bending; it’s a deep and broad field of medicine that plays an essential role in healing and restoring mobility.

With two locations in El Segundo and Torrance, California, serving patients throughout the Santa Monica South Bay area, our experienced team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, and sports medicine experts at Coastal Ortho offer several types of physical therapy sub-specialties to target your unique symptoms and help you regain your full range of motion faster. Here’s a closer look at four of them. 

1. Rehabilitative physical therapy

This is the type of PT most people think of when they think of physical therapy. Rehabilitative physical therapy helps you recover from an injury, surgery, or both.

Our sports medicine specialists treat many athletes throughout the South Bay area, from high school hopefuls and weekend warriors to professionals. The most common sports injuries are:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • Torn ligaments
  • Fractures
  • Tendinitis

During the acute phase of your injury, the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) protocol is best, as it reduces inflammation and kick-starts the healing process. As the swelling subsides, you’re ready for controlled movements under the supervision of our expert physical therapists, followed by a remodeling phase that involves strength training specific to your sport as well as scar tissue management. 

Once you reach pre-injury function, your physical therapy is complete and we release you to participate fully in your sport, armed with strategies to prevent re-injury.

Surgery patients follow a similar protocol. Post-surgical physical therapy considers your age, overall health, activity goals, and other factors that influence your ability to heal and regain full function. 

2. Neurological physical therapy

Neurological conditions can cause mild symptoms, such as occasional slight tremors or tics, or they can lead to debilitating motor function problems. Examples of chronic neurological conditions include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Stroke
  • Cluster, tension, and migraine headaches
  • Brain trauma and aneurysms

Although medication can ease some of the symptoms, these conditions are incurable. Our physical therapists work alongside your medical team to improve your mobility. We use gentle techniques that target specific muscles and joints, gradually improving your range of motion and diminishing the effects of your neurological condition.

3. Geriatric physical therapy

Injury and surgery aren’t the only culprits that can undermine your mobility — sometimes, bodies slow down simply due to age. After years of wear and tear, your musculoskeletal system gradually breaks down. Your joints produce less synovial fluid to lubricate them, your muscle mass decreases, and your energy wanes. 

Adding illness to insult, you may have developed arthritis and/or osteoporosis to boot. Whether you’re battling stiff joints, post-cancer-treatment pain, or just need to get more spring in your step, our geriatric physical therapy is just the ticket. We teach you new moves that fit your new stage in life and give you practical tips to help you prevent injuries and stay active.

4. Vestibular physical therapy

If your balance is impaired, you can’t stand, walk, drive a car, or participate in countless daily activities. Dizziness and balance issues can stem from a wide range of medical conditions, including:

Our balance experts supplement your medical treatment, helping you control eye movement, strengthen muscles, learn new ways of sensing your body’s location relative to your environment, and regain your balance and mobility.

These are only a few of our physical therapy sub-specialties that target specific conditions to help ease pain and stiffness, improve range of motion, and restore mobility. To discover how physical therapy can help you, contact us at our offices in El Segundo or Torrance online or by phone to schedule a consultation with our experienced PT team.