Stiff joints, illness, and injuries can reduce quality of life, but physical therapy can help. Physical therapy helps individuals maintain, recover, or improve their physical ability by using specific exercises and techniques to improve mobility. Physical therapists are experts in body movement, and they are trained to educate and empower individuals so they are better able to handle pain and recover from injury. This article will explain what’s involved in physical therapy so you can determine if it’s right for you.
What’s Involved in Physical Therapy?
During a physical therapy appointment, the therapist will:
- Conduct a physical exam to evaluate the patient’s flexibility and muscle and joint capabilities. They will find out about the client’s past health history to determine the best steps moving forward.
- Provide a diagnosis and a customized plan outlining short-term and long-term goals.
- Offer self-management recommendations so the person can exercise at home to further promote healing.
A variety of techniques may be used to increase wellness. These include:
- Physical manipulation such as massage and chiropractic
- Guided exercises to improve range of motion
- Iontophoresis uses an electrical current to deliver medications that reduce inflammation
- Heat, moisture, and cold therapy reduce pain and inflammation
- Light therapy can be beneficial to certain medical conditions
What Does Physical Therapy Help With?
Physical therapy is used to address a variety of conditions. These include the following:
Risk of Falling: As people get older, they often have balance issues that make falls more likely to occur. A therapist will examine you to determine what is contributing to a lack of balance whether it be inner ear problems, poor reaction times, issues with your sensory system, or muscle strength. They will devise a system that addresses these problems.
Heart Disease: Physical therapy can include cardio exercises that strengthen your heart and blood vessels and improve the flow of oxygen throughout the body. This reduces the risk of heart disease.
Arthritis: A physical therapist can teach you exercises that improve joint mobility. They help you work around pain and avoid injuries reducing the need for surgery and pain medication.
Musculoskeletal Issues: There are a variety of physical therapy methods that relieve musculoskeletal pain and stiffness allowing you to regain function and mobility. They can help you recover after an injury that affects the musculoskeletal system.
Neurological Conditions: Physical therapy increases the use of muscles that are weak, improving muscle control, coordination, and balance. It makes it easier to complete daily tasks and movements increasing independence.
Osteoporosis: Your physical therapist will recommend exercises that build bones and reduce bone loss in vulnerable areas.
Alzheimer’s: Physical therapy helps people with Alzheimer’s stay mobile so they can be independent for as long as possible.
Physical therapy is worth considering for many reasons as part of a wellness plan as you “age well.” Speak with your doctor or contact a physical therapist near you to get started!
Disclaimer: Age Well CT provides content for educational purposes only, please contact a professional for medical advice.