Physical therapy is helpful for people of all ages to treat various medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that limit their regular ability to move and function. A customized physical therapy program can help patients return to their previous level of function, and promote activity and lifestyle changes. This can help prevent additional injury and improve overall health and wellness. Primary care doctors often refer patients to physical therapy first, since it is considered a conservative approach to managing injury or pain. You may ask yourself, “Why can’t I just do exercises on my own?” A Physical Therapist is trained to target your problem area and design a program that strengthens/works on your unique issue.
Here are 10 reasons you should see a PT before more aggressive treatments:
Reduce or eliminate chronic pain. Therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques such as joint and soft tissue mobilization or treatments such as dry needling, 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. Surgery should be your last resort. Most patients who come to physical therapy prior to deciding on surgery have found physical therapy helps eliminate pain or heal an injury, eliminating the need for surgery. Even if surgery is required, patients benefit from pre-surgery physical therapy, prehab, to gain strength and speed the recovery process. If you are going into a surgery stronger and in better shape, you will recover faster.
Improve mobility. If you’re having trouble standing, walking or moving—no matter your age—physical therapy may help. Stretching and strengthening exercises help restore mobility. Physical therapists can assist with properly fitting patients with a cane, crutches or other assistive devices, or assess for orthotic prescription. Physical therapists can customize your care plan to help get you back the activities that are important in your life. Whether it is playing with your children or running a marathon, physical therapy’s goal is to get you back to what matters to you. A physical therapist can teach you exercises or stretches to practice and adapt to ensure maximum mobility and safety.
Recover from a stroke. It’s common to lose some degree of function and movement after stroke. Physical therapy helps strengthen weakened parts of the body and improve gait and balance. Physical therapists can also improve stroke patients’ ability to move around in their daily life so that they can be more independent around the home, and reduce their need for additional care while using the toilet, 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. At Busybody we are athletes and understand the desire to return to previous activity levels. Understanding that need allows us to customize a plan for your specific injury as well as sport.
Improve your balance and prevent falls. When you begin physical therapy, you will get screened for fall risk. If you’re at high risk for falls, your therapist 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 will determine if assistive devices to help with safer walking. When the balance problem is caused by a problem in one’s vestibular system, Physical therapists can perform specific manipulations that can quickly restore proper vestibular functioning, and reduce or eliminate symptoms of dizziness or vertigo.
Manage diabetes and vascular conditions. As part of an overall diabetes management program, exercise can help effectively control blood sugar. Additionally, people with diabetes may have problems with feeling in their feet and legs. Physical therapists can help provide exercises and educate these patients on proper foot care to prevent further diabetes related issues down the road.
Manage age-related issues. As we age, we may develop arthritis or osteoporosis or need a joint replacement. Physical therapists are experts in helping patients recover from joint replacement, and manage arthritic or osteoporotic conditions conservatively. Physical therapists work & train closely with orthopedic physicians, rheumatologists, & other healthcare providers to be able to help patients at any age.
Manage heart and lung disease. While patients may complete cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack or cardiac procedure, you also may receive physical therapy if your daily functioning is affected. For pulmonary problems, physical therapy can improve the quality of life through strengthening, conditioning and breathing exercises, and help patient's clear fluid in the lungs.
Manage Women’s Health and other conditions. Women have specific health concerns, such as with pregnancy and postpartum care. Physical therapists can offer specialized management of issues related to women’s health. Additionally, 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 may help you or someone you care about, please don’t hesitate to ask your health care provider or local physical therapist for information.
Learn more information about Busybody’s outpatient physical therapy program—which has locations in the Houston Galleria, and Houston Heights near Oak Forest— call (832) 584-9657.