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Physical therapy (PT) is a healthcare specialty used to evaluate, diagnose, and treat physical problems or disorders of the human body. The goal of PT is for people to be able to go about their normal daily activities as they did before an injury or surgery. Therapists use exercise, manual skills, and functional training to help patients return to their prior level of activity.
PTs teach patients how to prevent or manage their condition or injury so that they will achieve long-term health benefits. When a patient begins PT, their physical therapy care team will develop a plan, using treatment techniques, to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and/or prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
Patients are referred for PT when their provider thinks it will be beneficial. People of all ages can receive PT and it is useful in treating many different medical conditions including sport and orthopedic injuries, neurological and muscular illness, and cardiopulmonary diseases.
Caring for Patients
Physical therapists (PTs) are licensed healthcare professionals with a master’s or doctoral degree in physical therapy. They develop the physical therapy treatment plan, customizing it to each individual’s needs. PTs help patients reduce pain and improve or restore movement that may have been affected due to an injury or disease. Physical therapy (PT) can prevent the need for surgery and reduce the need for long-term use of prescription medications.
Patients may also receive care from a physical therapist assistant (PTA). PTAs are licensed healthcare professionals that deliver care by following the PT patient care plan. PTAs may also measure changes in the patient's performance as a result of the physical therapy provided.
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Recuperarse de una lesión o aprender a vivir con una discapacidad o limitación física puede ser un desafío. La fisioterapia (PT) y la terapia ocupacional (OT) pueden ayudar a los pacientes a recuperar la fuerza o la movilidad, volver a aprender habilidades o encontrar nuevas formas de realizar las tareas cotidianas.
Occupational therapy helps patients recover from injuries, trauma, and neurological or musculoskeletal disorders to regain the skills needed to resume the highest level of function for daily living and tasks. Occupational therapy helps people participate in the things they want and need to do every day, such as dressing, bathing, and getting around. At a first OT appointment, a therapist and the patient will set goals and create a plan to achieve those goals.
The Department of Rheumatology provides a full range of services - including joint injections, musculoskeletal ultrasound, and infusion therapies – for arthritis and systemic rheumatic autoimmune diseases, including scleroderma, lupus, inflammatory arthritis, spondyloarthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout. For all conditions, our rheumatologists work closely with providers in other departments to ensure you receive the best care possible, for all aspects of your health.
Condiciones que Tratamos
These disorders can be complex, as they may involve the gastrointestinal tract, genitourinary tract and/or the pelvic musculoskeletal system. Therefore, an evaluation by a team of different kinds of doctors is important. At BMC, colorectal and gastrointestinal surgeons, gastroenterologists, gynecologists, urologists, therapists, psychologists, and primary care physicians all work together to determine the best course of treatment for individual patients.
The brain, inner ear, muscles, joints, central nervous system, senses and blood vessels/heart all work together for normal balance. These links are called the vestibular system. Sometimes a disease or injury can damage this system causing dizziness, vertigo, trouble with walking or balancing, and sometimes difficulty with hearing and vision
After bone or joint replacement surgery, specific exercises can help increase range of motion and flexibility, as well as strengthen the muscles while you get used to your new bone or joint. Your doctor, physical therapist, or occupational therapist can help develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs and lifestyle.
A bone fracture is a broken bone, which can happen to any bone in the body. Fractures require medical attention. Injury is the most common cause, with symptoms including bruising, bleeding, difficulty breathing and in the case of a limb (arm, leg), deformity. Diseases like osteoporosis can weaken bones, making them more susceptible to breaking.
Concussion is an interruption in normal brain activity usually due to a trauma to the head like a car accident or from a sports injury. Symptoms can include loss of consciousness, but because this does not happen in every case, many concussions go undiagnosed and untreated. Other symptoms that might occur are confusion and forgetfulness, nausea, vision problems, dizziness, and more.
Tendinosis (or tendonitis) means inflammation of a tendon; De Quervain's tendinosis is the irritation or inflammation of the tendons that run along the base of the thumb. Symptoms include pain and tenderness in the thumb and side of the wrist that can travel up the arm, particularly when gripping or twisting the wrist. Overuse can cause De Quervain's tendinosis, as can pregnancy and its related hormonal changes, and rheumatoid arthritis. This condition is most common in middle-aged women.
Dyspareunia is described as pain with intercourse. This pain can be on the outside of the vaginal opening or deep in the pelvis. Sometimes the muscles in the pelvic floor are tense or tight and this can cause pain. Dyspareunia can be caused by many other things such as endometriosis or postpartum issues. PT can help patients manage their pain with relaxation techniques for the pelvic floor, exercises to control pelvic movement, and education to manage symptoms.
This is also known as painful bladder syndrome. IC is a chronic condition that can cause increased frequency of urination, urgency, and pain/pressure in bladder. Chronic pain can cause spasms of pelvic floor muscles. PT can help control pain, teach relaxation techniques, educate patient on timing voids during the day, and teach healthy bladder habits.
Certified lymphedema therapists utilize Complete Decongestive Therapy- the gold standard treatment consisting of manual lymph drainage, bandaging, and exercises to help with movement and drainage of the lymph fluid and reduction in limb size.
Overactive bladder can cause the sudden urge to urinate which can be difficult to control. It often causes frequent urination (more than 8 times in 24 hours), nighttime urination, and sometimes urinary leakage. PT can help change voiding (urinating patterns) by timing voids during the day, making changes to drinking/eating habits, and learning to hold the bladder using pelvic floor muscles.
Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that disrupts normal function and communication between brain cells. It gets worse over time and mostly affects older adults (and more men than women). Symptoms include tremors (shaking) that usually begin on one side of the body or in one body part, like the hand.
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles located in the bottom of your pelvis and inside your pelvis. They control urination, bowel function, and sexual function. If these muscles become weak, you could have problems with urinary leakage, urinating frequently, difficulty with bowel movements, or pain with intercourse. PT can teach you exercises to help strengthen these muscles to help manage your symptoms.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse is when the uterus, bladder, or rectum “drops” down onto the vaginal canal. This can cause pain, heaviness, or sense of something bulging in pelvis. PT can help educate patient on posture and body mechanics to avoid worsening of symptoms. Exercises can also help strengthen the pelvis and abdomen to help manage this condition.
Pelvic Pain can be any pain in or around your pelvis. It can be caused by many things such as tight pelvic muscles, weak muscles of the pelvic floor, or other bladder/bowel issues. PT can help relax muscles of the pelvic floor, strengthen muscles that are weak, and educate patients on how to manage symptoms independently.
Spinal fractures can vary widely in severity. While some fractures are very serious injuries that require emergency treatment, other fractures can be the result of bones weakened by osteoporosis. Most spinal fractures occur in the thoracic (mid-back) and lumbar spine (lower back) or at the connection of the two (the “thoracolumbar junction”). Fractures of the thoracic and lumbar spine may result from high-energy trauma, such as: a car or motorcycle crash; a fall from height; a sports accident; or a violent act, such as a gunshot wound.
A stroke is a medical emergency that happens when the blood supply is slowed or blocked in the brain, causing brain cells to die. Signs that someone is having a stroke include slurred speech and numbness or paralysis (unable to move) in the face, arm or leg. Causes include blood clots in the brain, clots that travel from other parts of the body and lodge in the smaller vessels in the brain, a blocked artery, or a bleed in a blood vessel.
Walking, running, or moving around on foot is referred to as “gait.” Gait abnormalities or walking abnormalities are usually caused by a disease or injury in the leg, foot, brain, spine, or inner ear. PT can help improve muscle strength and stability and balance to improve gait mobility and function.
The Physical and Occupational Therapy Team
Karen Mattie, PT, DPT, MS
Senior Director, Clinical Operations
Kara Schworm, PT, DPT, CCS
Director, Rehabilitative Services
Operations Manager, Rehabilitative Services
Kathryn Ferrari, PT, MS
Manager, Outpatient Rehabilitative Services, Boston Medical Center Campus
James Sherman, PT, DPT
Manager, Outpatient Rehabilitative Services, Winthrop Neighborhood Health
Julie Murray, OTR/L
Manager, Inpatient Rehabilitative Services