How Physical Therapy Improves Your Mobility (Proven Ways)

Sports injuries and a sedentary lifestyle can cause issues with your mobility. Let’s understand how you can handle it with physical therapy.

Did you know there are 3.5 million sports injuries each year in the USA? 

These injuries often attack your mobility and leave you in pain if untreated. Further, numerous mobility issues also happen because of our sedentary lifestyle.

During such times, it isn’t easy to maintain normal functioning and mobilization. Physical therapy is one way to improve the mobility and flexibility of the body.

This article will cover how physical therapy is a boon to overcoming pain and improving functional mobility, types of assistance, and a few exercises in physical therapy.

How Physical Therapy Improves Mobility

Physical therapy increases your range of motion and strengthens your muscles, especially your core and leg muscles, to improve mobility. 

Physical therapists, also known as physiotherapists, will encourage you to do muscle-strengthening exercises. They also mix activities and diet plans to promote better mobility. 

However, it would be best to choose a good physiotherapist in your location who deals specifically with your age group. 

For instance, if you’re a 40-60+ person dealing with pain in South Carolina, Dr. Tim from Movement Solutions could be your best choice.

The Three Categories of Functional Mobility

Your functional mobility determines how well you can move around in your environment. It is the therapist who evaluates your level of functional mobility. There are three main areas of functional mobility. 

 It can be bed mobility, functional transfers, and ambulation.

1. Bed Mobility

Bed mobility is the ability to do specific movements while on the bed. Scooting, rolling, side-lying to sitting, and sitting to lying down are all examples. 

It also includes scooting to the edge of the bed to sit before standing or transferring. It’s possible that your capacity to shift around in bed is limited, and you’ll need help getting out.

2. Functional Transfers

Functional transfers refer to moving from a sitting to a standing position or moving from one surface to another. It can be shifting from bed to chair or vice versa. Your therapist assists you with these transfers to perform better without any problem. 

3. Ambulation

Ambulation is the capacity to walk from one location to another, with or without assistive equipment. Walking may require the use of assistive equipment, such as a cane. 

It helps in the development of joint and muscular strength. Your physical therapist may also do a gait analysis to assess your walking style and provide ways to enhance ambulation.

Understanding the Different Levels of Assistance

There are different levels of assistance in physical therapy. A physical therapist decides what level of help you need based on your injury or pain severity and thereby works on improving your health

The various levels of assistance are as below:

Physically Dependent

This is a situation where you cannot help or do anything yourself. You are entirely dependent upon your therapist or healthcare providers to assist you. They will perform all the tasks in such a situation.

Maximal Assist

As the name suggests, maximum assist is a situation where the physical therapist performs approximately 75 percent of the work during the mobility exercises. In comparison, you achieve only 25 percent of the work. It indicates that you have started working on yourself.

Moderate Assist

Moderate assist is the stage where you do half (50 percent) of the necessary work suggested by your therapist. 

Here, the therapist is responsible for doing half of the work for you. Such a situation indicates that you require less time to recover.

Minimal Assist

Minimal assistance is where you need help from your therapist for movement and walking. 

This situation comes when you can perform 75 percent of your tasks yourself, while therapists do only 25 percent of the work.

Contact Guard Assist

Contact guard assist is a condition where the physical therapist has one or two hands on your body but provides no other help to perform the functional mobility task. The contact is established to aid in the stabilization or balance of your body.

Stand-By Assist

Stand-by assistance is when you don’t get aid from the physical therapist. Here, you have to perform every task by yourself. 

However, the therapist stays close to you in case you lose your balance or need help adjusting your body.

Completely Independent

Every physical therapist hopes for their patients to get to this stage. Here, you perform all the functional movements safely and by yourself. You don’t require an assistant nearby. 

Some Exercises to Improve Functional Mobility

You can prevent most injuries during sports. However, you cannot avoid it completely. So at some point, you may need physical therapy to recover from the pain.

Always go with a certified therapist who will determine your level of functioning and prescribe exercises that will help improve your mobility. 

Depending on your condition and the assistance you need, your physical therapist will suggest some exercises. They will also assist you in learning the optimal way to perform them to improve your functional mobility. 

Here are some exercises that might be helpful in your physical improvement and curbing pain:

  • Strengthening exercises
  • Range of motion exercises
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Balance exercises
  • Shoulder exercises
  • Neck exercises
  • Back stretches and exercises
  • Spinal exercises
  • Hip exercises
  • Ankle mobility exercises


You have learned how physical therapy could help you overcome sports injury or pain-causing immobility. You’ve also learned about the different levels of assistance and categories of functional mobility in physical therapy.

Physical therapy takes away your pain and provides you with a quality life. It might sometimes be sufficient to assist you in healing and managing your condition without the need for surgery. 

In rare cases, you will need assistance with mobility in physical therapy, which a reliable physical therapist can do.


1. How does physical therapy improve mobility?

After surgery or an injury, physical therapy can help you restore mobility. It increases your range of motion and strengthens your muscles, leading to improved mobility.

2. What are the five levels of assistance in physical therapy?

The five levels of assistance in physical therapy are Maximal Assist, Moderate Assist, Minimal Assist, Contact Guard Assist, and Stand-by Assist.

3. What does bed mobility mean?

Bed mobility means moving your body around in bed. All movements and tasks should be performed in this mobility while lying in bed.

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