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Orthopedic Physical Therapy in New Jersey

Patient seated on treatment table while physical therapist helps him lift weight


atients at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics (CNSO) have access to comprehensive back and spine care, including orthopedic physical therapy. Serving individuals throughout northern New Jersey, CNSO has onsite therapy services offered by experienced certified physical therapists. Learn more about this type of physical therapy, the conditions it can treat, and what patients should expect.

What Is Orthopedic Physical Therapy?

Orthopedic physical therapy focuses on improving the function of the musculoskeletal system, a complex network of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Working with an orthopedic physical therapist can help a patient regain flexibility, strength, and range of motion. A person may be referred to orthopedic physical therapy to manage chronic pain, recover from surgery, or treat an acute injury. Orthopedic physical therapists typically have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree and complete specialized training in the field of orthopedics.

Orthopedic Physical Therapy Techniques

Orthopedic physical therapists use a range of tools and techniques to care for their patients. A physical therapy appointment typically will include a mix of stretches and exercises. Therapeutic techniques can include:

  • Hot therapy: The application of moist heat can help increase circulation to injured areas of the body, providing pain relief.
  • Cold therapy: Ice packs or other forms of cold therapy can reduce inflammation in injured tissues.
  • Soft tissue manipulation: This form of manual therapy is used to treat muscle adhesions and improve joint function.
  • Hydrotherapy: Also known as aquatic therapy, this usually takes place in a swimming pool and can help treat joint pain and improve flexibility.
  • Electrical stimulation: Forms of electrical stimulation such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) can help interrupt pain signals.
  • Ultrasound therapy: This treatment uses sound waves to increase blood flow to a specific area of the body, such as the back or neck.

Most patients also receive an exercise plan that includes specific movements to help them regain balance, improve muscle tone, and increase their range of motion. They will complete these exercises during their appointments and at home.

What Conditions Do Orthopedic Physical Therapists Treat?

Some patients see an orthopedic physical therapist after an injury, such as a car accident or a fall while playing sports. Others have physical therapy as part of their rehabilitation plan after surgery. Orthopedic physical therapy helps patients regain mobility, build up their strength, and get back to their normal routines faster. This form of physical therapy can help treat conditions that affect the back, neck, and spine, such as:

What Are the Benefits of Orthopedic Physical Therapy?

Orthopedic physical therapy can be highly effective in managing chronic back or neck pain. The benefits of this treatment modality include:

  • Improved mobility: Physical therapy can help patients move through their normal daily routines without pain and get back to doing the activities they enjoy.
  • Stronger muscles: Surgery or injury can cause muscles to atrophy rapidly. Physical therapy helps patients rebuild strength in the muscles that support their joints.
  • Less pain: Exercises, stretches, and other techniques can provide opiate-free pain management.
  • Avoiding surgery: Physical therapy and other conservative treatments may treat a patient’s symptoms without the need for surgery.
  • Maintaining independence: For older adults, orthopedic physical therapy can help improve strength and balance, helping prevent falls and other injuries.

Shorter recovery times: Working with a physical therapist can help a patient recover faster after back or spine surgery.

What to Expect During a Physical Therapy Appointment

Most patients who work with a physical therapist will have a series of appointments. They may see a physical therapist two to three times a week over several weeks to maximize strength and conditioning as quickly as possible. Thereafter, they will be able to transition to home exercising and/or returning to their preferred gym. Schedules will vary based on factors such as the patient’s rehabilitation plan, their goals, and their overall health.

At a patient’s first physical therapy appointment, their orthopedic physical therapist will take time to get to know them. They will review the patient’s medical history, their current symptoms, and how their pain is affecting their daily life. They also will discuss the patient’s specific goals, such as getting back to playing a favorite sport.

An orthopedic physical therapist will create a personalized treatment plan based on the patient’s needs. They also will work in coordination with other providers, such as a patient’s neurosurgeon, orthopedic spine surgeon, or physiatrist. During the patient’s first appointment, the therapist also may conduct a functional capacity evaluation (FCE) to better understand the patient’s level of mobility and strength. They may observe the patient while they sit, stand, squat, or bend. They may have the patient practice lifting, pushing, or pulling. This information helps the orthopedic physical therapist develop a treatment plan.

Throughout their subsequent appointments, patients should expect to perform strength and conditioning exercises, stretches, and other forms of therapy. Their orthopedic physical therapist will give them specific exercises to continue at home between appointments to build on their progress.

For patients who have been injured on the job or while playing sports, the physical therapist also will determine when the patient has recovered enough to return to their normal work or athletic activities. They will coach the patient on proper techniques to avoid future injuries.

Physical therapy appointments vary in length; they may take half an hour, 45 minutes, or an hour. Because the patient will be actively participating in stretches and exercises, they should wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing, as well as supportive footwear, such as athletic shoes.

CNSO’s Physical Therapy Staff

The certified physical therapists at CNSO are uniquely equipped to treat back, neck, and spine conditions. All members of the physical therapy staff have extensive training in spine and musculoskeletal conditions. The certified physical therapist team at CNSO includes: Working one-on-one with patients, they design tailored rehabilitation programs, taking time to educate patients on how to best manage their specific conditions. CNSO’s physical therapists have specialized training in orthopedic techniques including:
  • Maitland Approach: This is a patient-centric approach to physical therapy that uses hands-on techniques to continuously evaluate and assess joint movement and function.
  • McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT): This is a holistic approach to care that uses exercises and other strategies to help patients manage their pain.
  • Movement System Impairment (MSI): This system is used by physical therapists to diagnose, classify, and inform treatment plans for musculoskeletal pain.

Choose CNSO for Comprehensive Care

The dedicated medical team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics (CNSO) includes orthopedic physical therapists, neurosurgeons, spine surgeons, physiatrists, and pain management specialists, collaborating to help patients achieve the best health outcomes possible. CNSO philosophically takes a conservative approach to pain management throughout the patient journey, offering expertise at each stage of treatment. With multiple locations throughout northern New Jersey, CNSO serves patients in Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Morris, and Hudson counties, and the surrounding areas. For more information about orthopedic physical therapy services or to request an appointment, contact CNSO today.

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Our Medical Staff

In order to provide an accurate diagnosis with the most effective treatment option for “back problems” and brain tumors, CNSO is led by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons. Under the care of our award-winning neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons, Northern NJ patients can have the confidence that their medical condition will be handled with consideration for their comfort and long-term well-being as well as technical excellence.

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