Santa Cruz Physical Therapy

Why a Physical Therapist?

Physical therapists can help improve or restore the mobility you need to move forward with your life. If you are looking for a possible alternative to surgery and/or pain medication, consider a physical therapist. These people did.

Your Physical Therapist Can Help You With:

  1. Arthritis
  2. Back Pain
  3. Knee Pain
  4. Osteoporosis
  5. Overuse Injuries
  6. Shoulder Pain
  7. Stroke
  8. Sprains, strains, and fractures
  9. And much more

About Physical Therapists

Intensive Education and Clinical Expertise…
Physical therapists apply research and proven techniques to help people get back in motion. All physical therapists are required to receive a graduate degree – either a master’s degree or a clinical doctorate — from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. They are trusted health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, diagnose, and then prevent or treat conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life.

More and more physical therapists are now graduating with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. More than 92% of the 210 accredited academic institutions nationwide offering professional physical therapist education programs now offer the DPT degree – and more than 75% of all 2008 PT graduates hold a DPT degree.

Caring to suit anyone’s needs…
Physical therapists provide care for people in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes.

Physical therapists diagnose and treat people of all ages, including newborns, children, and elderly individuals. They may consult and practice with other health professionals to help you improve your mobility.

Easy access to professional care…
In most states, you can make an appointment with a physical therapist directly, without a physician’s referral.

What to Expect from a Physical Therapist

The optimal combination of treatments…
Blending science with inspiration, your physical therapist will teach you how to prevent or manage a health condition and help motivate you during your treatment so you can function optimally. Your physical therapist will work with you to help you understand your body so you will achieve long-term health benefits.

A personal wellness plan tailored for you…
Your physical therapist will examine you and develop a plan of care using a variety of treatment techniques that help you move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Your physical therapist can also help you prevent loss of mobility and motion by developing a fitness- and wellness-oriented program tailored to your specific needs. Your physical therapist may choose to team with a physical therapist assistant (PTA), an educated and licensed clinician working under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist, for components of your care.

Your partners in health…
Physical therapists and PTAs are your partners throughout your journey to restoring and maintaining motion so that you can function at your personal best.

Improve Mobility

No matter what area of the body ails you – neck, shoulder, back, knee – physical therapists have an established history of helping individuals improve their quality of life.
A physical therapist can help you move freely again without pain and discomfort and feeling renewed and ready to move on. They can even help you prevent an injury altogether.
For instance, a study of 1,435 NCAA Division 1 female soccer players demonstrated that those who participated in a physical therapy program had an overall ACL injury rate 41 percent lower than those who did only a regular warm-up prior to practice.

Because physical therapists receive specialized education in a variety of sciences – physics, human anatomy, kinesiology (human movement), to name a few– they understand how the body works and how to get you moving again. They know how to manage all four of the body’s major systems – musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and integumentary (skin) – to restore and maximize mobility.

Whether you are living with diabetes or recovering from a stroke, a fall, or a sports injury, a physical therapist is a trusted health care professional who will work closely with you to evaluate your condition and develop an effective, personalized plan of care. A physical therapist can help you achieve long-term results for many conditions that limit your ability to move.

Eliminate Pain

Many types of pain and inflammation can be reduced with the help of a physical therapist, including low back pain, which affects up to 80 percent of Americans during their lifetime. Physical therapy that mobilizes the spine along with specific exercises can help alleviate the pain and can have long-lasting effects.

If you are at risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association encourages seeing a physical therapist for the initial treatment of pain resulting from tendinitis/bursitis, degenerative joint problems (osteoarthritis), and inflammatory joint problems (rheumatoid arthritis), rather than prescription pain medication. Physical therapists are a great alternative to medication and surgery for musculoskeletal pain. Research shows individuals who receive active physical therapy experience greater improvement in function and decreased pain intensity.

No matter what part of your body hurts, a physical therapist can help you alleviate or manage pain without costly medication or other invasive methods, in many cases.

Christopher Vafiades PT, MS, ATC

chrisChristopher received his masters’ degree in Physical Therapy from Florida Gulf Coast University with special interest in orthopedic physical therapy. He earned his BS in Exercise and Sport Sciences specializing in Athletic Training at the University of Florida.


Christopher’s treatment philosophy involves evidenced-based practice. He provides individualized and comprehensive physical therapy and rehabilitation programs with goal to relieve pain, promote healing, and prevent future injury. Christopher uses a “hands on” approach with specific exercises, in combination with patient education on techniques, fitness, general wellness, and ergonomics. This comprehensive treatment strategy aims to optimize results, shorten recovery time, and prevent re-injury. Ultimately it is his goal to provide the highest quality of patient care and assist all his patients in achieving their physical and functional goals.


Since beginning his practice as a Physical Therapist he has worked in a variety of outpatient clinics with a broad range of general orthopedic conditions throughout Florida, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Throughout his career, Christopher has gained valuable experience with manual physical therapy, on-field assessment and rehabilitative care. License and Certification Physical Therapy Board of California: Licensed Physical Therapist National Athletic Trainers Association Board of Certification: Certified Athletic Trainer.

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(831) 426-4325