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Physical therapists treat more than just injuries. They provide preventative care to people in need so that they can live their best quality of life. PTs probably treat many conditions you weren't even aware of, and a PT could help someone in your family.

When I say physical therapist, what’s the first thing that comes to mind, a doctor for sports injuries, neck pain, and back pain? While physical therapists do treat these conditions, they also do so much more. Physical therapy is a clinical health science that is intended to treat an array of physical ailments. Here are some conditions that you may not be aware that physical therapists treat.

Physical Therapy Has Changed The Lives Of Many People In My Family


My first born son was due June 7th, and he arrived on March 18th, weighting 2lb.6oz. He was about the size of a dollar bill. Being so early was tough on both of us. He was always attached to machines, covered in IVs, and kept in an incubator. As a first time mother, I was really a wreck. I spent every day with him at the hospital. Sometimes watching nurses draw blood and change IVs was just too much for me to handle. Needless to say, I cried a lot during this segment of my life.

However, there was always one doctor that I was happy to see in the NICU, my premature child’s physical therapist. Once every week, a physical therapist came to administer massage treatment to my child that he even seemed to enjoy. It looked like he relaxed every time she massaged his tiny body using only the tips of her fingers, and I relaxed because he was receiving treatment that didn’t involve needles.

Massage therapy helps preemies develop and gain weight more rapidly. In a study by Field et al., 2010, they found that massage therapy has led to weight gain in preterm infants when moderate pressure massage was provided.

Weight gain is the ultimate goal when it comes to working toward getting your preemie home. They must develop their ability to suck, swallow, and breathe in order to eat and gain weight. It’s a big milestone for these little people.

Let me be the first to say that when your infant lives at the hospital, you also feel like the hospital owns your child. It’s a helpless feeling. Any practice that makes their time at the hospital shorter is a worthy practice. Vickers et al., 2004 state, “Massage interventions also appeared to reduce length of stay by 4.5 days.”

If you have a preemie, make sure that your child is seen by a physical therapist for massage therapy.

Interstitial Cystitis

I discussed the idea of studying to become a physical therapist with my family members. I was surprised when one family member shared her experience with interstitial cystitis, or IC. She was referred to a qualified physical therapist to help ease its painful symptoms, and her therapy was also through massage.

Her condition was directly affecting her pelvic floor. The solution was to release trigger points using hands-on treatment, or massage therapy both internally and externally. She said the treatment was extremely effective, and though she may have felt awkward about it at first, she was happy with the results of the treatment.

Parkinson ’s Disease

Another person in my family has Parkinson’s disease. The whole family is pushing him to consider treatment from a PT.

Parkinson’s disease is a disease that attacks the nervous system. It can cause muscle and joint pain, weakness, and tightness. If you know someone with Parkinson’s, you can see that movement or mobility becomes very difficult for them. In my family member’s case, he has difficulty even walking. He drags one of his feet more than the other, and if he falls, it takes several of us to help him up. It’s quite concerning to all of us because it detracts from his daily quality of life.

We remember him for the ox of a man that he once was, and the effects of Parkinson’s have taken control of his strength.

Even though physical therapists can’t cure Parkinson’s, they do specialize in body movement and can offer relief from its symptoms. A PT may be able to help with the muscle and joint pain, weakness, and tightness. They can also assist with other symptoms such as balance, coordination, immobility, and fatigue.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • Field, T., Diego, M., & Hernandez-Reif, M. (2010, April 1). Preterm Infant Massage Therapy Research: A Review. Retrieved December 03, 2016, from
  • Semont and Epley Maneuvers to Treat Vertigo. (2014, November 14). Retrieved December 03, 2016, from
  • Swan, J., MSN, BSN, ADN, RN, & Katz, M. J., MD, PhD. (2015). Asthma. Retrieved December 03, 2016, from
  • Thomas, M., & Bruton, A. (2014). Breathing exercises for asthma. Retrieved December 03, 2016, from
  • Vickers, A., Ohlsson, A., Lacy, J. B., & Horsley, A. (2004). Massage for promoting growth and development of preterm and/or low birth-weight infants. Retrieved December 03, 2016, from
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