Physical therapy can be defined as a health profession involved in the evaluation, prevention, and treatment of physical dysfunction that may arise from disease, injury, or illness.
Therapists see a variety of patients and conditions, including:
- Infants and toddlers
- Children with orthopedic conditions and/or neurological issues
- TMJ or jaw problems
- Women’s health issues
- Post-traumatic brain injury
- Diagnoses including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, vertigo and dizziness, concussion, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, cardiovascular accident, spinal cord injuries, urinary incontinence, lymphedema, venous insufficiency, chronic wounds, or fibromyalgia
- Musculoskeletal dysfunctions including, but not limited to, plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, sprains/strains, back pain, neck pain, postural dysfunctions, abnormal biomechanics, overuse injuries, or tennis or golfer’s elbow
- Post-surgical patients, including total knee replacement, total hip replacement, rotator cuff repairs, or anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction
“It’s very encompassing,” said Nancy Gasmann, PT, Physical Therapy Manager with Trinity Health.
Trinity Health’s Physical Therapy Department isn’t limited to their offices at Health Center – West, Gasmann said, noting they also have a presence at Trinity Hospital and RehabCare (at Trinity Hospital – St. Joseph’s), Trinity Community Clinic – Velva, and therapists who work in the school system. Trinity physical therapists also perform home health visits for homebound patients and travel to outreach sites outside the Minot community, using a variety of physical means to help patients maximize their function including therapeutic exercise and manual therapy, with use of other pain modalities.
Physical therapy can be a beneficial way to treat pain or other side effects from disease, injury, or illness, without the use of opioids, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and others.
In a climate where opioid abuse has become rampant, physical therapy has become the preferred treatment to address pain versus the use of opioids. The opioid abuse is “a huge issue at the present time,” Gasmann said. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, millions of Americans use opioids to manage pain; while doctor prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, they do not address the underlying cause of the pain. The reliance on opioids has led to “the worst drug crisis in American history.”
In the past, opioids were the saving grace for patients who were in pain when physical therapy could have easily helped them manage their pain – and in a non-habit-forming way. “With the use of physical therapy, pain may be decreased, but also the underlying cause of the pain can be found and may keep the pain away longer,” Gasmann said.
Opioids were “very easily prescribed by the physicians,” Gasmann said. “Now, they are aware the population has become addicted. They are working on decreasing that and working toward other aspects, as far as decreasing pain, and going from there.” By adding physical therapy as a mode of treatment, patients can learn how to prevent their pain and address the source of the pain.
Generally, insurances require a physician’s referral, although a patient (depending on insurance coverage) can make an appointment directly by calling 857-5286.