Physical therapy helps sufferers of a variety of ailments to maintain or improve functionality of the body. Physical therapists work to prevent, treat, and rehabilitate patients with physical problems and reduced mobility. There are a large number of physical therapy treatments out there, and the right one for you depends on your specific condition. Physical therapists treat patients for anything from headaches and back pain to spina bifida and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease– as well as helping many other patients to recover as much mobility as possible after an accident or other event.
There’s been a lot of talk lately in the health care community about physical therapy robots. Because of this, you may be wondering which is better, robotic (mechanical) physical therapy or physical therapy done by human therapists. The answer is neither. A human therapist is always necessary when embarking on a long term physical therapy program, no matter your condition. However, studies done with hundred of stroke victims show that robotic therapy definitely has a place in the future of physical therapy– a very important place.
Robotic Physical therapy is a brand new field. Discoveries and inventions have been made in places like MIT that have had some very promising results on stroke victims.
Victims of a stroke are generally weeks, months, even years in physical therapy. Even though many attempts are made to return mobility to them, most stroke victims make no real visible improvements in mobility. Robotic therapists, however, are changing that. The advantage robotic therapy has over human therapy is constancy. It’s very difficult for a human therapist to take the time necessary to make true strides in improving a patient’s mobility. Robots, however, never tire, slow, or change pace– of course, the repetitive motions needed in order to properly work the affected parts of body of the stroke victim don’t affect a machine. In addition, robotic therapists generally have bio-feedback mechanisms. These mechanisms help to increase improvement in the affected parts of the body.
Some robotic therapists are even designed to act as both coach and therapist, using jokes, humor, and encouragement to help patients get though the long and tiring process of physical therapy.
While strides are being made in the field of robotic therapy, and robotic therapists will at some point be available to help with many conditions, human therapists are and will always be necessary. For most conditions, a human therapist is your only option. However, even if using robotic therapy, you must have a human therapist in order to diagnose your movement problems and develop a long-term strategy for treating them. It’s also necessary to visit human therapists to evaluate progress and make further plans for both human and robotic therapy.