Physical therapy helps people of all ages with medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their regular ability to move and function.
A customized physical therapy program can help individuals return to their previous level of functioning, and encourage activities and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further injury and improve overall health and well-being. Primary care physicians often refer patients to physical therapy at the first sign of a problem, since it is considered a conservative approach to problem management. Wondering what makes physical therapy so important?
Here are the 10 ways that may help you:
1. Reducing or eliminating pain
Therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques such as moving joints and soft tissues, or treatments such as ultrasound, tape or electrical stimulation can help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function to reduce pain. Such treatments can also prevent the pain from returning.
2. Avoid surgery
If physical therapy helps relieve pain or recover from an injury, surgery may not be needed. And even if surgery is required, you may benefit from preoperative physical therapy. If you are to have stronger surgery and are in better shape, you will recover faster after that in many cases. Also, by avoiding surgery, healthcare costs are reduced.
3. Improve mobility
If you have difficulty standing, walking or moving — no matter your age — physical therapy can help. Stretching and strengthening exercises help restore your mobility. Physical therapists can fit individuals properly using a cane, crutches, or another assistive device, or evaluate orthotic prescription. By customizing an individualized care plan, any activity important to an individual’s life can be practiced and adapted to ensure maximum performance and safety.
4. Stroke recovery
It is common to lose some of the degree of function and movement after a stroke. Physical therapy helps strengthen weak parts of the body and improve walking and balance. Physical therapists can also improve stroke patients’ ability to move around in bed so they can be more independent at home, and reduce their burden of care for toileting, bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily living.
5. Recovering from or preventing a sports injury
Physical therapists understand how different sports can increase your risk of certain 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.
6. It improves your balance and prevents falls
When you begin physical therapy, you will be screened for your risk of falling. If you are at high risk of falling, therapists will provide exercises that safely and carefully challenge your balance as a way to mimic real-life situations. Therapists also help you with exercises to improve coordination and assistive devices to aid in safe walking. When a balance problem is caused by a problem with the vestibular system, physiotherapists can perform specific maneuvers that can quickly restore proper vestibular functioning, and reduce and eliminate symptoms of dizziness or lightheadedness.
7. Management of diabetes and vascular disease
As part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan, exercise can help effectively control your blood sugar. In addition, people with diabetes may have problems with sensations in their feet and legs. Physical therapists can help provide and educate these patients about proper foot care to prevent further problems in the future.
8. Managing age issues
As individuals age, they may develop arthritis, osteoarthritis, or need a joint replacement. Physical therapists are experts in helping patients recover from joint replacement, and conservatively managing cases of arthritis or osteoarthritis.
9. Heart and lung disease management
While patients may complete cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack or procedure, they may also receive physical therapy if their daily functioning is affected. For lung problems, physical therapy can improve quality of life with strengthening, conditioning, and breathing exercises, and by helping patients clear fluid in the lungs.
10. Managing Women’s Health and Other Conditions
Women have specific health concerns, such as pregnancy and postpartum care. Physical therapists can provide specialized management of issues related to women’s health. In addition, PT can provide specialized treatment for Bowel Incontinence, Breast Cancer, Constipation, Fibromyalgia, Lymphedema, Male Pelvic Health, Pelvic Pain, and Urinary Incontinence.
If you have questions about how physical therapy can help you or someone you care about, please do not hesitate to book an appointment to see our Thumbay Rehab specialists today.