Physical therapy is a broad field that can assist people of all ages who suffer from injuries, illnesses, or chronic conditions that limit their functional movement. A highly customized physical therapy program can restore your previous level of functioning, improve your overall health and fitness, and reduce your risk of future injury. Physical therapy is considered a safe and conservative approach to managing the effects of many different medical conditions on muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. Here are 7 reasons to visit a physical therapy clinic.
Whether your pain is acute or chronic, whether it is caused by a recent injury, a degenerative condition such as arthritis, or a complex disorder such as fibromyalgia, physical therapy can reduce or even eliminate it. A combination of therapeutic exercises, manual techniques, and treatments such as ice therapy or electrical stimulation may be used, depending on the results of your assessment.
Physical therapists often speak of “functional fitness.” This refers to the ability to move your body through space and perform the activities of daily living. Many people, regardless of age, have difficulty standing, walking, or moving due to stiffness as well as pain. Physical therapists use a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises to reduce stiffness, improve flexibility, and restore mobility.
Physical therapy is highly individualized, which means that your physical therapist will tailor your program to the things that are important to you, from playing with grandchildren to getting back to the gym to returning to competitive sports. Your physical therapist will also assess your need for assistive devices such a cane or prescription orthotics to help you maximize both performance and safety.
Avoiding or Recovering from Surgery
In many cases, physical therapy can help you heal from an injury or reduce inflammation from a chronic condition to the point that surgery is no longer needed. If you do need surgery, both pre-surgery and post-surgery physical therapy can help you recover faster, with less reliance on pain medications and less time away from work and from the activities that you enjoy.
Heart Attack and Stroke Recovery
If you have had a heart attack or a stroke, your doctor will likely refer you to a physical therapist to help you heal. Physical therapy often begins in the hospital, where your mobility and basic functioning will be assessed, and you will start to practice exercises that are considered safe for your current condition. You will receive education about your condition, along with a discharge plan that may include assistive devices and recommendations for making your home more accommodating.
After leaving the hospital, you will begin a targeted rehabilitation plan that slowly and safely builds your exercise tolerance, strengthens weakened areas of the body, and restores your functional fitness. Your progress will be carefully monitored, and your program tweaked as necessary as you progress.
Sports Injury Prevention or Recovery
Physical therapists understand the unique risks and challenges of each sport. A physical therapist can assess your risk factors and help you decrease your chances of being injured. Depending on your needs, your physical therapist may address existing issues such as low core strength or improper gait, and/or recommend exercises to help prevent repetitive use injuries.
If you sustain a sports injury, your physical therapist will provide a targeted program designed to heal the injury, strengthen the weakened part of the body, and help you lower your risk of reinjury. Working in tandem with your doctor, your physical therapist can help you get back into peak competitive form much faster than trying to heal on your own.
Balance Improvement and Fall Prevention
Your physical therapist will assess your balance and risk for falls. If you have balance issues due to dizziness or vertigo, your physical therapist can perform specific techniques designed to restore your vestibular functioning. If you are at high risk for falls, your therapist can help to improve your balance and coordination with a variety of exercises, and can recommend assistive devices to make walking safer.
Physical therapists can also work with your doctor to help minimize the physical effects of a wide range of medical conditions, from diabetes to incontinence, and can even help reduce the physical impacts of cancer. Physical therapy can also be extremely helpful to women who are pregnant or have recently given birth. In short, if you have any type of health concern that causes pain or limits movement, ask your doctor whether physical therapy may be right for you.
If you are in the market for a customized, innovative approach to physical therapy, please call Raritan Physical Therapy at (732) 662-4400 to schedule your initial assessment.