Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is treatment to improve mobility (such as walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed), to relieve pain, and to restore physical function and overall fitness. The physical therapist uses exercise, manual therapy, education, and modalities such as heat, cold, and electrical stimulation to work toward these goals.

Depending on the injury, disease, or condition, physical therapy may include work on flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and/or balance. Treatment may focus on preventing problems or treating problems that affect:

  • Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones (musculoskeletal system).
  • Your nerves and related muscles (neuromuscular system).
  • Your heart and related blood vessels (cardiovascular system).
  • Your lungs and breathing (pulmonary system).
  • Your skin, including wounds and burns.
  • Any combination of two or more of these.

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Travel Warnings and Tips for Pregnant Women

If you decide to vacation, visit old friends, or must travel for work, pregnancy shouldn’t stop you from flying or