Become Pain Free Now

What Is Maintenance Physical Therapy, Who Qualifies For It, and What Can You Expect?

physical therapy fountain valley

Your daughter suffers from cerebral palsy. It has been suggested that maintenance physical therapy might be a good approach to help her continue to function to her best ability to avoid any deterioration.

Maintenance physical therapy is designed for patients just like this.

This guide explains:

  • What maintenance physical therapy is
  • Who qualifies for it; and
  • What you can expect from maintenance physical therapy.

Table of Contents

What Is Maintenance Physical Therapy?

Maintenance physical therapy is meant to help patients maintain a certain level of lifestyle rather than have them make gains.

The overall goal is to avoid a decline in health and ability, but not necessarily try to make improvements through therapy sessions.

The guidelines for maintenance physical therapy are:

  • A qualified therapist is required to help with the patient’s function
  • The patient’s condition requires a maintenance program to be established by a qualified therapist
  • A qualified physical therapist or caregiver is required to perform the maintenance therapy
  • Care can be performed in a physical therapy office or by home health maintenance therapy

If you think you might qualify for a maintenance plan of care, In Motion O.C. can help. Rated #1 in America, our team of knowledgeable physical therapists is equipped with the skills to help you maintain your conditions and live a comfortable physical lifestyle while preventing deterioration.

Who Is Maintenance Physical Therapy For?

Maintenance physical therapy is often recommended for patients with chronic lifelong conditions. The hopes are to have the patient live a comfortable active lifestyle without any decline.

Ideal candidates for maintenance physical therapy might include patients suffering from:

  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cerebral vascular accident
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Chronic falls
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Chronic pulmonary disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia

What Is Maintenance Physical Therapy Good For?

Not everyone is a candidate for maintenance physical therapy.

If you …

  • Injured yourself while exercising
  • Pulled a muscle sleeping 
  • Hurt yourself at work

… a maintenance plan of care is not what you are looking for.

You might be interested in rehabilitative physical therapy, instead.

With maintenance physical therapy, the physical therapist can help patients with:

  • Maintaining mobility
  • Maintaining functionality
  • Maintaining flexibility
  • Avoiding deterioration

maintenance program physical therapy

Maintenance Therapy vs. Rehabilitative Therapy

Maintenance therapy and rehabilitative therapy are not considered to be the same.

With maintenance therapy, a skilled therapist or caregiver is required to help a patient maintain their current function or prevent further deterioration of their current condition.

Maintenance physical therapy goals might include:

  • Avoiding complications from a chronic condition
  • Helping with muscle weakness from lack of mobility
  • Muscle contractures 
  • Reducing fatigue
  • Maintaining strength 
  • Maintaining flexibility

If a patient qualifies for rehabilitative therapy, it means they can use a skilled therapist to help them to attain their prior level of function in a reasonable and predictable amount of time.

The overall goal for rehabilitative therapy is to have the patient gain back their abilities and become independent again, but specific goals will vary from person to person.

What to Expect From Maintenance Physical Therapy

Regular physical therapy sessions are not the same as maintenance physical therapy.

Although all physical therapy sessions require an assessment and evaluation, the plan of care will differ because rehabilitative therapy is short-term while maintenance physical therapy is long-term.

If you believe you are a good candidate for maintenance physical therapy, contacting a skilled physical therapy office, like In Motion O.C., is a good start.

They will probably:

  • Do an initial assessment and evaluation
  • Create a maintenance plan of care
  • Ensure you follow through with the care plan with the help of a qualified caregiver or physical therapist
  • Regularly review your care plan and make adjustments as needed

In Motion O.C. is the #1 rated clinic in America. Their skilled physical therapists are knowledgeable and professional and work hard to help with your physical therapy needs.

Initial Assessment and Evaluation

During your initial assessment and evaluation, a board-certified doctor of physical therapy will typically ask several questions regarding:

  • Your condition
  • Your physical function
  • How your condition currently affects your way of life

These questions help to give the physical therapist an idea of what you’re dealing with on a regular basis

The physical evaluation might include your:

  • Level of strength
  • Posture
  • Flexibility
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Range of motion

Maintenance Plan of Care

Following your initial appointment and assessment, the physical therapist will design an individualized maintenance plan of care based on your needs.

Carrying Out the Program With a Caregiver or Physical Therapist

Unlike rehabilitative physical therapy, a maintenance plan of care can be carried out at home with the aid of a skilled caregiver. However, certain circumstances may require you to be seen by a physical therapist.

Home health maintenance therapy, care that is provided in the home by qualified persons, is allowed following specific rules and regulations.

Because this is a maintenance plan of care, it is meant to be carried out indefinitely and changed as the physical therapist sees fit. If you are meant to stop your maintenance therapy program, your physical therapist will let you know that, too.

Re-Reviewing the Program With Your PT

As time passes and conditions progress, the needs of the patient might change. Your physical therapist should review your maintenance therapy program regularly and adjust it according to your new conditions.

maintenance plan of care

What Does a Physical Therapist Do During a Maintenance Therapy Session?

Different things can be done during a maintenance physical therapy session to help a patient’s condition.

This will be specific to the patient’s:

  • Needs
  • Care plan
  • Condition

Most often, maintenance physical therapy sessions include:

Physical Exercises

Performing physical exercises during your maintenance therapy session can help with maintaining mobility and strength.

The exercises that are performed will depend on each patient’s unique conditions, but might include:

  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Aerobics
  • Jogging
  • Cycling
  • Rowing
  • Squatting


Stretching helps to maintain flexibility and mobility. During a maintenance therapy session, you might practice stretching specific parts of your body depending on your condition.

Manual Manipulation and Massage

Manual manipulation is often used in patients who have musculoskeletal conditions.

Manipulative movements include:

  • Kneading muscles
  • Joint mobilization

With massage therapy, different techniques can be used to manipulate the muscles, including:

  • Rubbing
  • Kneading
  • Long strokes
  • Deep circular movements
  • Vibration
  • Tapping

Gate control theory suggests that manual manipulation and massage are thought to be effective to the body. The theory states that non-painful sensations can override and reduce the painful sensations by stimulating the central nervous system and the path to the brain.

This technique could prove to be especially helpful for ideal candidates for maintenance physical therapy because they are usually suffering from a chronic condition that causes nearly constant discomfort and pain.

does medicare cover maintenance physical therapy

How the Physical Therapists at In Motion O.C. Can Help You With Your Maintenance Therapy Needs

Are you searching for a physical therapist to help with your maintenance needs?

The professional and skilled team at In Motion O.C. can help by:

  • Giving you an evaluation and assessment
  • Setting up a maintenance plan of care; and
  • Helping you carry out your personalized program

In Motion O.C. is rated the #1 physical therapy clinic in America and our team is eager to help.

In Motion O.C.