Bodily Motion – A change in the position of the body as a whole or a part, executed by the combined efforts of muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments under the brain’s directive with executive support from the heart and lungs
Well, there you go. That’s Physical Therapy in a nutshell!
But what do I mean?
Physical Therapy is the medical discipline aimed at correcting, improving, or preventing any injury, illness, or disease that affects bodily movement.
Glancing at the definition of bodily movement given above, one can deduce that if any of the parts that participate in carrying out a movement are affected, the system will no longer operate optimally. Come along as we delve into breaking bodily movement into systems, and from there, we will expound to see what injury, illness, or disease may affect each part and how physical therapy is involved in making it all better. So let’s get into it.
Firstly, bodily movement occurs under directives from the brain. The brain commands muscles to carry out the desired action using signals sent from itself via the spinal cord. When this system operates optimally, bodily movement is achieved. However, if the brain or spinal cord cannot relay these signals, then the action will not occur.
Some common conditions affecting these structures are cerebrovascular accidents (i.e., Stroke), spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, cerebral palsy, Gillian barre syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease. These are all contributors to the system’s breakdown, which will inhibit motion.
All of the conditions above (not exhaustive) are treated by Physical Therapists under a branch called Neurological Physical Therapy.
Continuing to dissect the bodily movement definition, we see the participation of the heart and lungs. Although these organs appear as secret agents who work in the shadows, they in fact play huge roles in our movement. If diseased or for different reasons not functioning optimally, movement may become challenging, and sometimes impossible.
To expound further, if an individual has for example coronary artery disease, Heart failure, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart disease, hypertension, asthma, bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, or pneumonia; it has been proven scientifically that bodily movement will be affected. That list sure looks long, but what’s astonishing is that it’s only a few of the conditions affecting the lungs and heart.
A Physical Therapist manages all of the conditions listed above and others, as a part of the branch called Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy.
Now that we’ve covered two of the least popular branches of Physical Therapy management, we can conclude with the most common. What’s that, you may ask?
When the General Public hear the term “Physical Therapy,” they immediately think, ‘those are back pain, broken bone, and massage specialists.’ This is not an incorrect view, as we will soon explore, but, Physical Therapists manage so much more! Upon concluding this read, it is hoped that each reader would have been edified as to the scope of Physical Therapy management.
The most common branch of Physical Therapy is Musculoskeletal Physical Therapy.
This arm includes all conditions affecting one’s peripheral nerves, tendons, muscles, joints, cartilage, and ligaments. Namely some of the most popular are pain (any area of the body), fractures (broken bones), strains, sprains, arthritis, tendonitis, and pelvic floor dysfunctions (which will be discussed more in upcoming articles), to name a few.
The conditions listed as a part of each arm of physical therapy show no favouritism to age, race, or gender. The majority of our society currently suffers from one form or another of these conditions, and often regrettably, their complaints go unmanaged. After reading this article, you are now among the elite with sufficient knowledge to take control of your health because you now know that Physical Therapists are movement specialists and can help. So let us help you. We will expound on several of the conditions listed today as well as how they are managed by Physical Therapists in subsequent articles, so be sure to look out for our monthly article release notifications.
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