If you’ve been injured, are recovering from surgery, or are dealing with a chronic condition that makes it difficult to perform daily activities, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. The goal of physical therapy is to help reduce pain and help improve your quality of life.
If you aren’t familiar with physical therapy, you may have questions about what it is and how it could benefit you. This article will discuss what you need to know about physical therapy and how it can help you.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is rehabilitative care focusing on diagnosing and treating injuries, acute or chronic conditions, and conditions that may affect your ability to move. Physical therapists use techniques and treatments to improve range of motion, restore mobility, improve physical function, and reduce pain.
A physical therapist is a trained, licensed professional who can diagnose and treat various injuries and health conditions. Licensed physical therapists work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, private practices, sports/fitness settings, and many other healthcare settings.
Conditions Physical Therapy May Help
Physical therapy can be helpful for many conditions. Here are some common conditions that physical therapy can help.
- Cardiopulmonary conditions — Cystic fibrosis, post-myocardial infarction heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Hand conditions — Carpal tunnel, trigger finger
- Musculoskeletal problems — Back pain, temporomandibular joint disorders, rotator cuff tears
- Neurological conditions — Stroke, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, vestibular dysfunction, traumatic brain injuries, and multiple sclerosis
- Sports injuries — Concussions, tennis elbow
- Skin conditions — Wound care, burns, and diabetic ulcers
- Pelvic floor dysfunction and other female health conditions — Urinary incontinence, lymphedema
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Although there are endless reasons why physical therapy can be beneficial, here are the top ways you can benefit from physical therapy.
Sports Injury Rehab
Not all sports injuries require surgery. However, reducing pain, strengthening the injured area, and helping you get back in the game is critical. Enlisting the services of a physical therapist can help you rebuild your strength and range of motion.
Your physical therapist will create a plan for you that could include massage therapy, targeted exercises, ultrasound, aquatic therapy, or cold and heat therapy.
Decrease and Manage Pain
Some people experience pain that can only be alleviated by surgery or prescription medication (opioids are often prescribed for pain management). However, there are other types of pain that can be effectively treated with physical therapy.
Acute pain has a known cause and sudden onset, but it typically gets better with time. Chronic pain lasts over three months and is caused by disease, an injury, medical treatment, or inflammation. And sometimes, the cause of chronic pain is unknown.
Your physical therapist can not only treat your pain but also help determine its source and find other areas that could add stress to the areas in which you are experiencing pain. Treating those areas can help you better manage pain without using pain medication.
Physical therapy for pain management can include stretching, therapeutic exercises, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, taping, massage, and cold and heat therapy.
Supports Neurological Conditions
A 2017 study revealed that four weeks of gait training, or eight weeks of balance training, positively affected patients with Parkinson’s Disease. These effects lasted three to twelve months after the last physical therapy session. The research also showed a reduced number of falls for up to a year, and an improved gait performance and walking capacity for up to six months after the conclusion of physical therapy.
Physical therapy can also assist patients living with multiple sclerosis (MS). Some MS symptoms, such as weakness, balance, spasticity and flexibility, coordination, fatigue, respiratory function, and aerobic endurance, can be managed with physical therapy.
Reduces Arthritis Symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can cause debilitating symptoms such as inflammation of the joints, pain, swelling, stiffness, and tenderness. Physical therapy can help reduce the severity of symptoms and increase patients’ overall quality of life by improving mobility, increasing strength to support joints, restoring the use of joints affected by arthritis, and helping keep patients active.
Decrease Post-Surgery Recovery Time
After your surgery, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. Your injury, the procedure, and overall health will determine how long your treatment will last. Physical therapy after surgery will help improve your range of motion, prevent excessive buildup of scar tissue, and reduce pain.
Let Active Physical Therapy Help You Get Back To Doing What You Love
Once you’ve become established with a physical therapist, make sure to ask questions and give your physical therapist feedback if you feel that something isn’t working. By actively participating in your sessions, following the treatment plan between sessions, and communicating with your physical therapist, you will begin to see and feel the benefits of physical therapy.
At Active Physical Therapy, we support the Redding community in leading an active, healthy lifestyle throughout all stages of life. So whether your goal is to get back to your daily walks or running your next marathon, our goal is to help and support you so you can get back to doing what you love.
Contact us today and let us know how we can help.