Physical therapy helps people of all ages who have injuries, medical conditions, or illnesses that limit their day-to-day functioning. A physical therapy program can help you return to your prior level of functioning, as well as prevent further injury while improving your overall health and well-being.
Here are 10 reasons why physical therapy is so important and how it may benefit you:
1. Reduce Pain
There are a variety of exercises and manual therapy techniques, including ultrasound, taping, and joint and soft tissue mobilization that can not only relieve pain, but also restore function in the muscles and joints. It can even prevent pain from returning.
2. Improved Mobility
You may be struggling with walking and moving, or even just standing (no matter what your age), but physical therapy can definitely help. This includes strengthening and stretching exercises, devices that provide assistance such as canes and crutches, or by a proper orthotic prescription.
3. Avoid Surgery
Therapy can help you avoid surgery by eliminating pain and/or by healing an injury. If surgery is still required, pre-surgery therapy can help, because going into surgery stronger and in better shape can speed the post-surgery recovery process.
4. Recover/Prevent Sports Injuries
Different sports can increase your risk for specific types of injuries – i.e., stress fractures for runners – and your physical therapist can design recovery or prevention exercise programs that enable you to safely return to your sport.
5. Improved Balance
One of the things your physical therapist will do is a fall-risk screening. If it shows that you are at high risk, your therapist will provide exercises that mimic real-life situations while increasing your balance. You’ll also be provided with exercises to improve coordination, or devices that assist you in safer walking. If you suffer from dizziness or vertigo, your therapist will show you exercises that will restore proper vestibular functioning.
6. Manage Diabetes
Physical therapy is often part of an overall diabetes management program. Exercise can effectively help control blood sugar, while people with diabetes often have problems with sensation in their feet and legs that the therapist can address to prevent further issues down the road.
7. Recover From A Stroke
People who’ve suffered a stroke often lose some degree of function and movement. Physical therapy helps strengthen the weakened parts of the body while also improving balance and gait. Your physical therapist can also help you to transfer and move around in bed, which will make you more independent around the home.
8. Manage Heart and Lung Disease
If your daily functioning is affected by heart and lung disease, you may receive physical therapy along with normal cardiac rehabilitation (after a heart attack or heart procedure). It can also help improve your quality of life through conditioning, strengthening and breathing exercises.
9. Manage Women’s Health
Women have a number of specific health concerns, including issues involved with pregnancy and post-partum care. Your physical therapist can offer specialized management of issues related to women’s health, including breast cancer.
10. Age-related Issues
Conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and joint replacement may develop as you age. Physical therapists are well-trained in helping patients deal with and recover from these issues.