Physical therapy helps people of all ages who have medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that limit their regular abilities.
Physical therapy programs are customized to the individual and can help them return to their prior level of functioning by encourage activities, specific lifestyle changes, and other methods that can help prevent further injury and improve overall health and well being. Primary care doctors will refer patients to physical therapy when problems first arise since it is considered an overall better approach to managing problems. Here are ten ways you can benefit from physical therapy:
- Reduce or eliminate pain – Therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques such as joint and soft tissue mobilization or treatments such as ultrasound, taping or electrical stimulation can help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function to reduce pain. Such therapies can also prevent pain from returning.
- Avoid surgery – Physical therapy can help you eliminate pain or heal from an injury making surgery not needed. Even if surgery is required, you may benefit from pre-surgery physical therapy. Since you are going into a surgery stronger and in better shape, in many cases, you will recover faster afterwards.
- Improve mobility – If you’re having trouble standing, walking or moving around physical therapy can help. Physical therapists can properly fit individuals with a cane, crutches or any other assistive device, or assess for orthotic prescription. By creating a customized individual care plan, whatever activity that is important to an individual’s life can be practiced and adapted to ensure maximal performance and safety.
- Recover from a stroke – Physical therapy helps strengthen weakened parts of the body and improve gait and balance. Since it’s common to lose some degree of function and movement after stroke, physical therapists can also help improve patients’ overall ability to transfer and move around in bed so that they can be more independent around the home which helps reduce their burden of care for toileting, bathing, dressing and other activities of daily living.
- Recover from or prevent a sports injury – Physical therapists understand how different sports can increase your risk for specific types of injuries (such as stress fractures for distance runners). They can design appropriate recovery or prevention exercise programs for you to ensure a safe return to your sport.
- Improve your balance and prevent falls – If you’re at high risk for falls physical therapists can help you through specific exercises that will safely challenge your balance as a way to recreate real-life situations. Physical therapists can also help with exercises specifically meant to improve coordination as well as using assistive devices to help mobility. If balance problems are caused by the vestibular system, physical therapists can perform specific maneuvers that can quickly restore proper vestibular functioning and reduce or eliminate symptoms such as dizziness or vertigo.
- Manage diabetes and vascular conditions – Exercise can help effectively control blood sugar as part of diabetic management plans. People with diabetes can also experience problems with sensation in their feet and legs. Physical therapists can help provide these patients on proper foot care that will help prevent future problems.
- Manage age-related issues – Age brings on it’s own issues such as arthritis, osteoporosis, the need for joint replacement, and others. Physical therapists are available to help patients recover from joint replacement as well as manage arthritic or osteoporotic conditions.
- Manage heart and lung disease – Patients may complete cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack or procedure, they also may receive physical therapy if general daily functions are affected. Physical therapy can improve quality of life through strengthening, conditioning and breathing exercises, and help patients clear fluid in the lungs for issues like pulmonary problems.
- Manage Women’s Health and other conditions – Women have specific health concerns such as pregnancy and post-partum care. Physical therapists can offer specialized care and management of women’s health. Physical therapy can also provide specialized treatment for: Bowel incontinence, breast cancer, constipation, fibromyalgia, lymphedema, male pelvic health, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence.