Is physical therapy just stretching?

physical therapist working with patient in aquatherapy pool
physical therapist working with patient in aquatherapy pool

Stretching is just one part of physical therapy. From targeted strength workouts to hands-on therapies, physical therapy is much more diverse than you might think. The University Health Center physical therapy team has a whole toolbox of techniques to help you overcome a range of physical challenges. Learn more about just a few of these techniques below:

Aquatic therapy
We have an indoor, heated pool with a treadmill that is especially helpful following orthopaedic surgery or when a patient requires decreased weight-bearing. Aquatic therapy lessens the impact on joints, so you can perform exercises that might be too hard on land.

Manual therapy
Manual therapy is when a physical therapist is more hands-on with the muscles or joints. Different types of manual therapy include cupping, Kinesio taping, joint mobilization, soft tissue mobilization, instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization and stretching. Dry needling is a manual therapy specialty offered at the University Health Center.

Functional activities
Physical therapists analyze and assess impairments in strength and mobility. Based on your limitations and goals, therapists will prescribe activity and a home exercise program to get you back to your desired sport or level of activity.

Concussion rehabilitation
Another important aspect of physical therapy includes symptom management following a concussion. A specialized team approach will help diagnose and implement an individualized treatment plan.

Physical therapy is different for every person. Our team will help create a personalized treatment plan that will help boost your mobility and make you feel your best. Student fees cover a brief discussion with a physical therapy team member about the benefits of our services. Call 402.472.5000 to schedule or learn more at

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