Physical therapists don’t always get the kind of glory and great P.R. doctors, surgeons, and nurses get. However, these trained professionals are an indispensable part of our health care system, and we would all suffer greatly if we had no access to their knowledge, training and compassion.Physical therapy – P.T., as it’s called in medical lingo — aids patients in recovery from illness, surgery, disease and injuries.Undergoing physical therapy can take weeks, months, even years occasionally – or merely a few days. It depends entirely on the problem the therapist is dealing with. For example, physical therapy is a common treatment after knee or hip replacement surgery.The patient must learn how to walk with a foreign joint in their leg, and that’s where the physical therapist’s expertise comes into play. No matter what kind of time the treatment demands, it is always worth the patient’s commitment because recovery is practically guaranteed to occur at a more rapid pace.Recovering from surgery is not the only application for physical therapy, and one need not be suffering in extreme pain to benefit from it. There are plenty of ways this type of treatment helps individuals in other health scenarios, too.
Here Are Just Some of Those Scenarios, And The Benefits Physical Therapy Has To Offer:
1- Treatment For Muscle Soreness & Aches
While it may seem this problem is within the purview of massage therapists, a physical therapist can do plenty of work to help with muscle issues.Think of it this way: a massage therapist eases the pain and discomfort at the moment. But the physical therapist teaches the person to treat themselves by showing them exercises, stretches, and other moves that ease the problem.Let me offer a personal example: since the pandemic hit, my brother and I have taken to going on long, daily walks to keep our fitness level up, our weight down, and our mental health in check. But he had a “bum leg,” as he described it, and needed at least three stops along the way to rest his sore, left leg. After seeking treatment with his doctor, she referred him to a physical therapist.This angel taught him how to strengthen and stretch the weakened muscle twice a day, and he now handles walking eight kilometres (about five miles) with no pain and no pauses. That’s progress!
2- It Helps You Manage Pain Without Resorting To Opiates
No one wants to be in pain, but most of us are wary of strong pain medication because of its addictive qualities.Seeing a physical therapist helps you learn to manage the pain you’re in, and they show you how to move and exercise to reduce, or perhaps even eliminate, that pain. Avoiding pain relief medications is always the best course of action if it’s at all possible, and physical therapy aids in that goal big time!
3- It Improves Your Balance
Let’s say you’ve had a mild stroke, and now your balance is compromised. A physical therapist will assess how extensive the damage is and teach you how to move to counteract the new limitations imposed on your balance by the stroke.Even small tricks help – like holding onto a counter or chair when you bend over. There are many of these moves in the physical therapist’s arsenal, and they’ll let you in on all of them.
4- Physical Therapy Also Improves Mobility
Once your balance is better, your therapist will show you exercises to enhance, or get back, your mobility. These two aspects – balance and mobility – are key to keeping a patient independent, and we all want that as we face our elder years, right?Physical therapy is a veritable gold mine of insights into improving these vital ingredients to a healthy life lived independently.
5- Physical Therapy Reduces Traumatic Injury
Let’s say you’ve got carpel tunnel syndrome because you’ve spent your career at a keyboard. This syndrome, which in essence is caused by repetitive movement or motion, can be devastating for anyone who depends on a computer to earn their living.Physical therapy helps soothe and reduce the pain and swelling that is such a big part of carpal tunnel syndrome, or tennis elbow, or myriad other conditions that result from the overuse of one limb or joint, in particular.
6- Physical Therapy Can Help You Avoid Surgery
Depending on the problem, your doctor may recommend a rehab program with the physical therapist so you can postpone, or even avoid altogether, having surgery. For example, knee replacement surgery isn’t something doctors are keen on doing when a patient is under 50 because the new, artificial joint only lasts approximately 20 or 25 years.Doing an operation too soon could mean you’ll need a second knee replacement operation in the future when you’re older, and that brings on many new risks. Consequently, your surgeon may suggest seeing a physical therapist, so the problem is helped, perhaps even temporarily cured.It’s a win-win situation: you get relief from pain with few or no drugs, learn how to manage the problem on your own, at home, and can avoid surgery for months or even years.
7- Physical Therapy Helps Us Deal With The Problems Of Ageing
It would be great if we could all make it to our 80s and 90s with no physical problems, but that’s just not realistic. Our bodies wear out as we age. A therapist can help us cope with whatever problems we face.
8- Sports Injuries Can Be Helped, Too!
It isn’t just older people who can benefit from physical therapy! Anyone who is active runs the risk of hurting themselves playing sports, particularly aggressive and competitive sports, like squash or soccer.Getting hurt is common, and a physical therapist can work wonders to help the injury ease, and regular treatments quicken recovery. The sooner you’ve dealt with the injury, the sooner you’re back on the squash court or playing field!
Last but not least!
Everyday living brings with it a host of physical challenges and risks, and the simple process of getting older brings our bodies closer to their inevitable decline. But there is no reason whatsoever to capitulate to that decline; seeking help from medical professionals like physical therapists is a sure way to enhance your quality of life.Going forward in life, taking as few medications as possible, and staying as mobile and as independent as we can, are goals that physical therapists support and advance with the treatment programs they provide.And best of all, in many cases, their expertise is paid for by your health care package or government coverage. But even if your health care plan doesn’t cover the problem you’re experiencing for some reason, take advantage of the treatments offered by these angels of medical care!You’ll feel better and recover more quickly with the help of a physical therapist, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment when the need arises :).