Physical therapy can benefit a wide range of the population and their needs. If you are an elderly person, needing some assistance with strength and balance after a fall; physical therapy can help. If you are a young athlete, throwing a 90 mph fastball or honing your 3 pointers and you get sidelined due to injury, physical therapy can help. If you are any age and need assistance with your body mechanics, strengthening the range of motion, or flexibility you may find yourself on the receiving end of physical therapy. The good news is there are many wonderful benefits to this type of treatment.
Direct benefits of Physical Therapy:
Recovery from an injury
A wide range of injuries can benefit from physical therapy. A dedicated athlete such as a swimmer or pitcher could suffer from a rotator cuff injury while a person of average physical activity could suffer from a ruptured Achilles tendon caused by normal wear and tear over time. Your physical therapist can assess your injury and tailor your treatment to promote strengthening and promote quicker healing.
Your physical therapist will teach you proper techniques for exercises that you can do at home. This will empower you to continue your treatment even if you are not at your therapist’s office. In addition, you will also be educated in proper form and body mechanics. This will help you strengthen your body and help prevent future injuries caused by poor form. Simple things like how to bend, lift and stretch correctly can go a long way to minimizing preventable injuries. This education and training can help protect you and improve your body mechanics long after your visits to your physical therapist have ended.
Greater flexibility and range of motion
Physical therapy can help improve your mobility and range of motion. Your physical therapist can use a combination of active and passive treatments including stretching, exercises, manual therapy, massage, heat, cold and electrical stimulation to improve blood flow and give a greater range of motion in your muscles and ligaments.
As we age, we become more prone to falls due to a loss of balance or spatial awareness. Injuries such as a stroke can also negatively impact a person’s balance. Falls can have serious repercussions including a concussion or broken bones. Physical therapy may be prescribed to a patient who needs to improve his or her balance after a fall or proactively to try and avoid unnecessary injury.
Physical therapy may help you successfully recover from an injury without the need for surgery. Frozen shoulder is a good example of how physical therapy may be able to help you avoid surgery. Frozen shoulder as it is commonly known, or adhesive capsulitis, is characterized by stiffness and limited range of motion. It often occurs after surgery or an illness. Physical therapy, along with other treatments such as medication or steroid injections, may be used to increase the range of motion without subjecting the patient to surgery. A physician and physical therapist should work in conjunction to determine if you are a good candidate for this type of treatment plan.
Combat long term pain
Physical therapy may be used to help you alleviate or decrease chronic pain. By strengthening and treating specific areas of the body regularly, physical therapy may allow you to manage your pain and avoid taking high level pain killers such as opioids. Opioids or narcotics can have potentially dangerous side effects including addiction. Physical therapy may help you diminish your pain and escape taking medication.
Improving your overall health and function
Because the bodies tendons, ligaments and muscles are attached and work together throughout the body, physical therapy can have a ripple effect. By strengthening one area of the body you can improve the function of many others, giving yourself more strength and better quality of life.
Your physical therapist has numerous tools to help you reap the benefits of investing in yourself. Using these tools, your physical therapy can give you all the above benefits and more.
The Tools of A Physical Therapist
Your physical therapist can give you all the machines, exercises and instructions in the world, but ultimately, you have to do the work. Your physical therapist will work hard to help keep you motivated and doing your part. If you are committed to your treatment plan, your therapy will have a much greater chance of success.
In addition to an undergraduate degree, a physical therapist has approximately three more years of education in a traditional DPT program. Education is needed for a physical therapist to have a thorough knowledge of the human body and movement and how the two work together towards recovery.
- A variety of tools and equipment
A physical therapist will have all sorts of equipment at his or her disposal to assist you possibly including: gym equipment, massage table and gels, electrotherapy, hot packs, cold packs, shoulder pulleys, gait belts, exercise bands and tubing, medicine balls, tens units, muscle stim units, compression units, braces and supports, and more.
A skilled physical therapist will have the knowledge and tools to assist you in achieving your goals. We can assist you with both short-term treatments to relieve pain and restore function and long term goals including walking, return to sports or pro-sports physical therapy, strengthening and general function. Under the proper guidance and supervision, the direct benefits of physical therapy can last you a lifetime.