Physical Therapy

Credentials and Education for Physical Therapists

Physical Therapists graduating today have completed seven (7) years of college work; four (4) years to earn a bachelor’s degree and another three (3) years for a Physical Therapy Doctorate (DPT). All Physical Therapists at Imua PT are licensed by the State of Hawaii. Many of the therapists hold additional certifications and degrees in such areas as manual therapy, athletic training, personal training, lymphedema, and mechanical diagnosis and treatment. Each therapist employed by Imua is provided a generous continuing education allowance to facilitate further professional growth and development.

The Physical Therapy Profession

Physical therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical and scientific base and widespread clinical applications in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function. For more than 750,000 people every day in the United States, physical therapists:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.
  • Restore, maintain, and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.
  • Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.

As essential participants in the health care delivery system, physical therapists assume leadership roles in rehabilitation; in prevention, health maintenance, and programs that promote health, wellness, and fitness; and in professional and community organizations. Physical therapists also play important roles both in developing standards for physical therapist practice and in developing health care policy to ensure availability, accessibility, and optimal delivery of health care services. Physical therapy is covered by federal, state, and private insurance plans. Physical therapists’ services have a positive impact on health-related quality of life.

Physical Therapy Scope of Practice

At Imua Physical Therapy, the focus is treating musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs are injuries and disorders that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system (i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, discs, blood vessels, etc.). The variety of diagnoses treated includes virtually any injury/disorder affecting the musculoskeletal system.

Below are listed some of the more common diagnoses treated, a list of various dysfunctions typically associated with the diagnosis and a description of the techniques, modalities and procedures utilized by physical therapists at Imua.

Most Commonly Treated Diagnoses with Physical Therapy

  • Spine Injuries
  • Extremity Injuries
  • Low back pain with or without sciatica
  • Tendonitis (any anatomical location)
  • Cervical pain with or without radiculopathy
  • Bursitis (any anatomical location)
  • Herniated disc (any spinal location)
  • Impingement syndrome
  • Degenerative disc disease (any spinal location)
  • Adhesive capsulitis (Frozen Shoulder)
  • Muscular strains (any anatomical location)
  • Nerve impingements (disc, spur, etc.)
  • Ligamentous sprains (any anatomical location)
  • Post surgical (fusion, discectomy, etc.)
  • Patellofemoral dysfunction
  • Post fracture/immobilization
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pregnancy and post-partum back pain
  • Post surgical (menisectomy, ACL, Rotator Cuff Repair, etc.)

Modalities used by Physical Therapy

Imua Physical Therapy utilizes a broad set of clinical modalities to assist in the healing process. Modalities are used minimally, as a compliment to the procedures listed below.

  • Ultrasound
    Decreases pain, increases tissue elasticity, degrades scar, increases cellular activity and increases circulation.
  • Electrical Stimulation
    Decreases pain, increases circulation and decreases edema.
  • TENS Unit
    Home electrical stimulation unit designed to provide pain relief only.
  • Iontophoresis
    System of medication delivery to focal regions using electrical current. Helps with pain relief and inflammation reduction.
  • Phonophoresis
    The use of the mechanical properties of ultrasonic waves to deliver medication to specific tissues.
  • Traction
    Applied to the cervical or lumbar spine to decompress spinal segments or discs.
  • Moist Heat Packs
    Decreases pain, promotes muscular relaxation and pre-exercise warm-up.
  • Ice Packs/Ice Massage
    Decreases pain and decreases inflammation.

Procedures and Clinical Approach in Physical Therapy

The following procedures, combined with personalized treatment plans, assist in the healing process and accelerate recovery times.

  • Massage/Soft Tissue Mobilization
    Techniques to degrade scar, promote relaxation, decrease pain and increase tissue elasticity.
  • Joint Mobilization
    A variety of techniques involving the application of pressure to facilitate an increase in motion and/or proper alignment of a joint (spinal or extremity).
  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage- Manual Lymph Drainage is an advanced form of massage that aims to stimulate the lymphatic system to remove congestion and stagnation from within the body, and so help it return to a healthy condition. MLD was originated by Dr. Emil Vodder in the early 1900’s. MLD therapy utilizes gentle massage strokes that remove blockages and promotes proper lymph flow. This is important because it is the primary function of the lymph system to defend the body against disease by cleansing, detoxifying and nourishing the body’s tissues. Thus, when the lymph system is blocked, toxins and plasma may accumulate causing interference with cell nourishment and depressing the immune system.
  • Myofascial Release
    The selective use of pressure and passive tissue tension to facilitate tissue relaxation, flexibility and relieve pain.
  • Therapeutic Exercise
    Specialized programs, individualized to the individual, designed to address specific strength, flexibility, endurance, balance, proprioceptive deficits.