Physical Therapy Specialties

Physical therapy is a broad field which is divided into several specialties. Each of them is focused on a narrower range of disorders and diseases that need therapy as a part of rehabilitation process. Sometimes, physical therapy is the only way to cure a patient. So what are general problems that are faced by doctors in each physical therapy specialties?

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy Specialty

Professionals in this field deal with people with cardiopulmonary diseases or patients after serious cardiac surgeries. Physical therapy procedures help to return to normal and full life much quicker as compared to simple “bed” recovery. So people with following problems should use physical therapy as a part of their treatment:

  • heart attack
  • heart failure
  • angioplasty
  • stent and coronary bypass surgery
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • chronic obstructive bronchitis
  • emphysema
  • asthma

Geriatric Physical Therapy

Elderly people have to face numerous disorders that are associated with the process of aging. But this doesn’t mean that one cannot get rid of these diseases or at least make the life easier and more pleasant. Physical therapy within this sub-specialty helps to deal with such problems as:

  • arthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • joint replacement
  • balance disorders

Neurologic Physical Therapy

This sub-specialty is considered to be the most complicated one. Neurological problems are hard to treat, therefore the whole team of healthcare practitioners works to help a patient. Physical therapy is indispensable part of treatment because it actually helps a person’s body to function properly again. Diseases that are treated by means of physical therapy in this field are

  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • cerebral palsy
  • brain, spinal cord injuries
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • stroke

Orthopedic Physical Therapy


Orthopedic physical therapists are focused on rehabilitation of patients after musculoskeletal system surgeries. If you have ever experienced sprains or fractures, you know how important are exercises that you make to improve mobility. Physical therapists use many different methods, like strength training, electrical stimulation, etc., to make patients recover after

  • various sports injuries (sprains, fractures, tears)
  • arthritis
  • amputations
  • post-operative joints

Actually there is a specific sub-specialty for multiple sports injuries which has a title Sports Physical Therapy. However, we can include the traumas treated and therapy procedures performed within this sub-area to Orthopedic Physical Therapy.

Pediatric Physical Therapy

As you may guess, physical therapists in this sub-specialty work with children that suffer from a variety of disorders and diseases affecting bones, muscles, and joints:

  • developmental delays
  • cerebral palsy
  • birth defects like spina bifida
  • torticollis
  •  motor skills problems

Doctors in various physical therapy specialties deal with much broader range of disorders than those described above. Never underestimate the value and importance of a physical therapy.