Maybe therapy was suggested to you or you know of someone who saw a therapist in an outpatient clinic or while in the hospital. But do you know what each type of therapy does for the body?

Types of therapy
Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) help people receive or regain physical abilities. For example, you may need help with walking or bathing after a stroke or accident. Speech therapy (ST) helps with more than speech. It can also help with communication, cognition, and swallowing issues. All of these therapy services can be provided to patients while in the hospital and/or continued after hospital discharge in an outpatient setting.

Who is therapy for?
Therapy is for people of all ages – kids to seniors! Each treatment plan is developed with a patient’s goals in mind. And treatment isn’t limited to helping patients with a medical condition.

According to Cindy Webb, a doctor of physical therapy at Erlanger FitPlus, a division of Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital, therapists offer specialty care for patients of all ages.

“Especially for older adults who are feeling the results of aging, PT has shown to help slow down typical age-related issues that affect movement and balance,” said Webb.

What do PT, OT, and ST involve?
When you first begin therapy, your therapist will assess and measure your abilities to help establish reachable goals. Your therapist will then create a plan based on what your current condition is and what your personal goals are. Goals may be to regain abilities you once had, improve your mobility, or limit a further decline in your health.

Your plan may call for a variety of treatment options, including:

• Manual therapy
• Exercises specific to your injury or diagnosis
• Modalities – heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, etc.
• Cognitive therapy
• Swallow studies or diet modifications
• Daily living training activities
• Splinting

In addition to patients, therapists often work closely with family and caregivers as well. Providing your at-home care team with education and support will make for an easier transition back to your desired lifestyle.

Learn more
For more information about physical, occupational, or speech therapy, talk with your doctor or visit