Patients who have various illnesses and physical injuries are often referred by their primary care physician to see a physical therapist for treatment. However, most individuals who are new to physical therapy are unfamiliar with the benefits this type of care can provide. As one of the leading physical rehabilitation methods available, physical therapy can yield lasting positive outcomes for patients suffering from mild to severe injuries and pain.
What Is Physical Therapy?
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the primary goal of physical therapy is to reduce pain and improve mobility. In some cases, physical therapy helps patients to avoid surgery or helps them recover post-surgery. Services offered by CORE Physical Therapy in Marin County and elsewhere are designed to help people complete the tasks of daily living, while they also can help elite athletes improve their performance or recover from a sports-related injury.
Physical therapists undergo considerable education and training before beginning their careers. They often gain experience working in outpatient offices or in hospitals. Rehabilitation facilities, extended care facilities, hospices, and sports training facilities all may employ these therapists. Frequently, people obtain an appointment after a referral from their physician, though it may also be possible for patients to seek such care on their own without a referral.
Typically, physical therapy is an ongoing process that sometimes requires at least a few appointments. During each session, the therapist works with the patient on specific strengthening and flexibility exercises, many of which the patient is instructed to practice at home between appointments. The therapist might also use other techniques like deep-tissue massage, ultrasound, and a TENS machine. Each patient’s treatment will vary based on their condition, severity, and their body’s natural ability to heal.
Who Can Benefit from Physical Therapy?
Almost anyone could benefit from physical therapy. Oftentimes people who have been in car accidents or were otherwise injured seek this treatment. However, people with diverse conditions like chronic back pain, Parkinson’s disease, concussion, urinary incontinence, carpal tunnel syndrome, and COPD might also benefit from physical therapy.
Here are the 10 benefits of Physical Therapy
1. Restoring Range of Motion
Many things limit motility. Whether caused by the degeneration of joints, an accident or something else entirely, being unable to lift an arm or adequately walk can be enormously frustrating. Fortunately, a physical therapist can help with various strengthening and flexibility exercises designed to help restore one’s normal range of motion.
2. Ending or Alleviating Chronic Pain
Medication is rarely the only answer when a patient is experiencing pain. In fact, physical therapy often offers a better solution than prescription pain relievers because it is designed to address the source of the problem and works to correct it. People who faithfully attend their physical therapy sessions and practice their exercises at home usually experience far less pain in the long run. They may be able to stop taking or altogether avoid the use of opioids for pain relief, thus reducing the risk of addiction often associated with these medications.
3. Improve Athletic Performance
Elite athletes frequently rely on physical therapy to help identify weaknesses and imbalances in their bodies. By working to improve strength and flexibility in these areas, performance is often found to improve. Moreover, training with a physical therapist can help athletes at any level prevent injuries. This can also make it possible to avoid strained muscles, stress fractures, and other injuries that interfere with training or competing.
4. Recover from an Injury
A nasty fall, a car wreck or a case of tennis elbow can all make it difficult for people to complete the necessary tasks of daily living. In some cases of sudden injury, walking to the mailbox or partaking in a favorite activity becomes either impossible or so difficult that it’s not worth trying. That is where physical therapy proves value. With the right exercises and treatment techniques, anyone can begin to recover and return to their former activity level.
5. Coping with Old Age
Many of the body’s systems begin to break down over the years. Also, conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis provide new challenges for completing basic tasks. These problems are only exacerbated if the person needs joint replacement surgery. Fortunately, a physical therapist can help to manage and ameliorate many of these conditions associated with aging.
6. Getting a Handle on Diabetes
Tracking blood sugar and eating a healthy diet is just the beginning when it comes to controlling diabetes. Exercise is another crucial component, and a physical therapist can prescribe a workout plan that makes sense for the individual.
7. Prevent Falls and Improve Balance
Many elderly individuals are referred to physical therapy after suffering a fall in order to help prevent future falls from occurring. The therapist evaluates all patients for their fall risk, and will then prescribe certain exercises that will improve balance and makes falls less likely. If the fall risk is exacerbated by an irregularity in the vestibular system, specific exercises and movements are prescribed to address this issue.
8. Fight Heart and Lung Diseases
According to the CDC, approximately 610,000 people in the U.S. die from heart disease every year. This accounts for one-quarter of all deaths in the United States. Heart disease is a widespread problem, but physical therapists can help patients recover from heart attacks. By leading patients through exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapists have been found to significantly improve the health outcomes of individuals suffering from coronary heart disease. For patients suffering from lung disease, physical therapists can lead people through various exercises that are designed to clear fluid from the lungs.
9. Stroke Recovery
Even a relatively minor stroke can have a debilitating effect on the patient’s quality of life. Many victims of stroke find it difficult to walk after the incident. In some cases, they may have lost range of motion and find that it’s not easy to take care of themselves. Regular physical therapy can help to address these issues by suggesting exercises to help with walking, balance, and many more necessary bodily functions.
10. Supportive Care for a Wide Range of Conditions
While seeking physical therapy after a car accident may seem fairly obvious, physical therapists similarly can help with less obvious conditions such as bowel incontinence, fibromyalgia, pelvic pain, post-partum care and a host of other clinical issues. Patients may want to consider asking their physician whether or not physical therapy could help to alleviate some of their symptoms.
Centric Healthcare is dedicated to providing excellent in-home physical therapy services in Rochester, Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding cities in Minnesota. Contact them to learn about their in-home physical therapy services today!