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Physical therapy evaluation and treatment at Akron General Medical Center is offered for patients who are hospitalized and through an outpatient setting at five convenient locations..

We treat patients covered by Medicare, most major health insurance plans, and Worker's Compensation. Because reimbursement policies vary, please consult your specific plan for more details.

Occasionally, insurance coverage for physical therapy will end before the patient has reached all of his or her therapy goals. Our Phase II Rehabilitation program allows patients to continue their therapeutic exercise program under their therapist's supervision on a self-pay basis.

Inpatient Physical Therapy

Inpatient Physical Therapy is located on the fifth floor of the hospital, adjacent to the orthopaedic and oncology nursing units.

The staff evaluates and treats hospitalized patients for:

  • Trauma (spinal cord injury, head injury, amputation)
  • Orthopaedic problems (fractures, joint replacements)
  • Neurologic impairments (stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease)
  • Surgery
  • Wound care
  • Cardiac disease (open heart surgery, heart attack, congestive heart failure)
  • Cancer
  • Pulmonary dysfunctions (pneumonia, asthma, emphysema)
  • General medical conditions (diabetes, infections)
  • Critical care


  • Patients will receive therapy either in the newly remodeled gym or in their hospital room.
  • Treatment can include gait training or learning how to use assistive devices such as crutches, canes and walkers.
  • Therapeutic exercise is used to improve strength and endurance.
  • Basic activities of daily living -- moving in bed, getting up from a chair or going up and down stairs -- are reviewed and re-taught.

Physical therapists are part of the multidisciplinary team that helps guide the patient toward recovery and discharge from the hospital. Physicians, therapists, nurses, social workers and care managers work together to plan the patient's discharge. While they strive to return patients to their home, some may require further skilled help, such as that provided in a rehab hospital or a skilled nursing facility.

Through our new partnership with Edwin Shaw Rehab, patients and their physicians also have access to the region's only comprehensive, fully accredited facility specializing in rehabilitation.

Outpatient Physical Therapy

Conditions treated through Outpatient Physical Therapy at Akron General include:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Industrial and work-related injuries
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Post-operative impairment following arthroscopic surgery, total joint surgery and amputation
  • Balance problems, dizziness and difficulty walking
  • Trauma from a motor vehicle accident, broken bones or a fall
  • Neurological problems such as stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's Disease
  • Lymphedema
  • Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

Pre-operative Services

Akron General offers pre-operative outpatient services for patients having elective orthopaedic surgery. For patients scheduled to have leg or foot surgery, we will dispense crutches and walkers and provide instruction on how to use these devices. Patients undergoing knee surgery may also be instructed in an exercise program to be performed following their surgery. Lumbar surgery patients may also come to our outpatient department prior to surgery to be custom-fit with a post-operative Warm-n-Form™ back brace.

Urodynamics Testing and Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation

Urodynamics Testing Center

Successful treatment for bladder problems, such as: urinary leakage/incontinence and urgency or excessive frequency, starts with an accurate diagnosis. Our Urodynamics Testing Center offers an advanced, state of the art diagnostic test. Testing, offered at Akron General's Health & Wellness Center - West, is relatively easy and minimally invasive.

The urodynamics test evaluates and monitors the function of your bladder, the urethral tube and your pelvic muscles during storage of urine and voiding. Your test results are compared to normal values and these results are used by your healthcare provider to determine your most effective plan of care. Treatments for incontinence and bladder problems do not always mean surgery. Many treatment options are available, including medications, physical therapy, bladder retraining, biofeedback, support devices, etc.

Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation and Urinary Incontinence Treatment
Our pelvic floor rehabilitation, offered at Akron General Medical Center and at Akron General's Health & Wellness Center - West, helps people suffering from bowel or bladder incontinence and people with pelvic pain due to pelvic muscle dysfunction or weakness. We help people regain strength and coordination of their pelvic muscles through safe and non-invasive treatment using biofeedback, exercise, education, electric stimulation, soft tissue mobilization, bladder training and diet and fluid management as appropriate.

We also offer a comprehensive Urinary Incontinence Treatment Program. Our program is based on the protocols developed by Janet A. Hulme MA, PT, a nationally acclaimed leader in the treatment of urinary incontinence. We utilize extensive education on self-care, exercise and biofeedback to enhance pelvic and urogenital function. Success is usually achieved with an average of 4-6 therapy visits.

Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation

Balance and Vestibular Rehab

In balance and vestibular rehabilitation, the departments of physical therapy and audiology work together to offer testing and treatment for anyone suffering from the following:

  • vestibulopathy
  • acoustic neuromas
  • tumors of the nervous system
  • benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • vertigo
  • dizziness
  • imbalance
  • frequent falls

Our knowledgeable and experienced staff helps patients improve their balance and activity levels. Participation in the Vestibular and Balance Rehab program requires a physician referral.


Our therapists and trainers professionally mold orthotics - foot and arch supports - or knee braces to protect weak joints and to correct biomechanical problems of the back and lower extremities. We also  mold protective sports pads and splints for shoulders, hands and fingers.

Work Injury Programs

Akron General Medical Center's Outpatient Physical Therapy is the only facility in the Akron/Canton region that is certified as an Isernhagen Work Systems Provider. Isernhagen Work Systems © (IWS) is an internationally recognized provider of work injury management and prevention programs. The Outpatient Physical Therapy Department at Akron General Medical Center is a certified provider of three IWS Programs:

Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) is a physical test designed to measure a person's abilities and then match those abilities to the specific tasks of a certain job. The IWS FCE is the only two-day FCE on the market -- 3 hours the first day and 2 hours the second day. Our FCE reports are easy to read and give clear, objective information about the client's abilities, cooperation, effort and consistency.

Functional Job Analysis/Functional Job Description (FJA/FJD) are tests to identify and quantify the physical components of jobs. This includes identifying the essential functions and critical demands of a job and the tools and equipment used on the job.

Pre-Work Screening (PWS) is a functional test to look at a client's ability to safely perform the physical requirements of a specific job. It is ADA compliant and can be performed either in our clinic or at the worksite.

Our physical therapist also treats the injured worker, guiding them back to function with progressive, active treatment. Our treatment philosophy includes aggressive and active modalities to improve recovery and maintain or improve job fitness. We educate our patients on safe lifting techniques and body mechanics, and make recommendations regarding lifestyle and exercise regimens to optimize function and well-being. We also provide Physical Reconditioning and Work Reconditioning as well as job simulation activities.

Lymphedema & Breast Cancer Services

Our physical therapists perform a personalized and detailed evaluation of each lymphedema patient. They examine the amount of swelling, skin condition, flexibility and strength in the swollen limb and design an individualized treatment plan.

Treatment always addresses skin care and education. It may also include any of the following:

  • compression bandaging with special edema bandages
  • lymph drainage massage
  • exercise
  • compression with a mechanical pump
  • sequential pneumatic compression

Often, family members or friends are instructed in the treatment methods so they can assist with the home program. We recognize that lymphedema is a chronic medical condition that requires daily attention. Our goal is to teach patients how to manage their lymphedema.

Our postsurgical breast cancer program helps patients regain range of motion, strength and function, decrease pain and prevent axillary contracture. We also educate patients on arm precautions to prevent lymphedema.

Prenatal & Postpartum Pregnancy Services

Our physical therapists are specially trained to meet the unique needs of the pregnant and postpartum woman. Our services are comprehensive and include: techniques to decrease pain and numbness, improve strength and flexibility, minimizing swelling, incontinence and pelvic pain, as well as preventative education.

Osteoporosis Services

Our osteoporosis services include a fracture prevention program consisting of physical and lifestyle evaluation, education and a personalized exercise program. For people who have already sustained a fracture from osteoporosis, we use modalities and exercise to decrease pain and regain strength, range of motion, flexibility, aerobic conditioning and function.

There are several risk factors for developing osteoporosis:

    A family member with osteoporosis
  • Being a woman, especially post menopausal or if never pregnant
  • Asians and Caucasians have increased risk
  • An inactive lifestyle
  • Decreasing estrogen levels in women and decreasing testosterone levels in men with age
  • Improper diet including too little calcium, and/or too much protein, caffeine or sodium

Symptoms and Problems Commonly Treated:

  • Loss of motion in your arms, neck, back, legs or hips
  • Pain due to a recent or old fracture, or pain/discomfort due to spinal changes resulting from inactivity or poor posture
  • Weakness, especially in your legs and trunk
  • Stooped or poor posture and difficulty standing upright
  • Difficulty walking, which may or may not include using a cane or walker
  • Inability to perform normal daily activities including dressing, washing hair, ironing, vacuuming, etc.
  • Dowager's hump - an excessive kyphosis (rounding) of your back at the base of your neck
  • Loss of height
  • Worsening balance or a history of falls


Exercise, a proper diet and medications your doctor may prescribe can decrease bone loss and may increase bone formation. Together, these treatments will greatly reduce your risk of fracture, risk of falling, and improve your quality of life.

Physical Therapy Can Help

A physical therapist can help if you experience pain, stiffness, weakness, have had a fracture or ar at risk for a fracture due to osteoporosis. A physical therapist will evaluate your individual situation and design a safe non-invasive treatment for you. Our program is designed to meet your specific needs and goals and may include, but is not limited to, the following Fracture Prevention and Post Fracture.


Hand Rehabilitation

Neurological Rehabilitation

Our neurological rehabilitation services focus on improving function and activities of daily living for patients with subacute and chronic neurological conditions including, but not limited to:

  • Parkinson's
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Stroke
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Post-Polio
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Date Updated: 16-MAY-2017

Aquatic Physical Therapy & Exercise

Patients with joint replacement, arthritis, fibromyalgia or chronic neck and back pain and other conditions may benefit from warm water aquatic physical therapy or aquatic exercise. Water helps to support the body and reduces stress to joints so you can strengthen and tone your muscles to help heal injuries or ease pain.

Aquatic Physical Therapy

Our licensed physical therapists and physical therapy assistants are skilled in aquatic physical therapy. A warm-water pool, equipped with a hydraulic lift chair, helps patients in and out of the pool safely and comfortably. Aquatic exercise therapy focuses on the participant's individual goals and ability level. Pre- and post- assessments help individuals chart their progress.

Patients only need to bring their bathing suits or shorts and a T-shirt. There are separate men's and women's locker rooms complete with lockers, showers, soap, towels and changing areas. A physician referral and insurance authorization is needed to participate in aquatic physical therapy.

Aquatic physical therapy is offered at Akron General's Health & Wellness Center - West. For more information, call 330-665-8200.

Aquatic Exercise Therapy

Aquatic exercise therapy is a warm-water general conditioning aquatic exercise program offered at Akron General's Health & Wellness Center - West. It is often recommended for people with arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic back pain and other similar medical conditions because it is a low-impact program. The water supports your weight and therefore reduces impact on your body. The results are strengthened and toned muscles without increased stress to joints.

All classes are taught by licensed aquatic physical therapists, who also stress education and prevention. Aquatic exercise therapy is a group exercise program. Individuals do not need a referral for aquatic exercise therapy, but a physician release is required.

For more information on aquatic exercise offered at Akron General's Health & Wellness Center - West, call 330-665-8200.

Benefits of aquatic therapy and exercise:
Those who benefit from aquatic therapy include those with:

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic back pain
  • Athletic injuries
  • Joint replacement
  • Neck/back pain
  • Orthopaedic disfunction
  • Scoliosis

Aquatic therapy is also a beneficial and therapeutic form of exercise for pregnant women and post-mastectomy patients.

Aquatic therapy and exercise can increase:

  • Circulation
  • Strength and endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Range of motion
  • Balance and coordination
  • Muscle tone

Aquatic therapy and exercise also:

  • Protects joints during exercise
  • Reduces stress
  • Decreases swelling
  • Permits exercise with less stress on the heart
  • Increases endurance
  • Improves postural awareness, coordination and balance
  • Can shorten the duration of therapy

Date Updated: 27-JUL-2010

Cleveland Clinic Akron General • 1 Akron General Avenue • Akron, OH 44307 • 330.344.6000 • 1.800.221.4601    © 2018 Cleveland Clinic Akron General