How Physical Therapy Can Benefit You

Benefits of physical therapy-Photo by Dylan-Sauerwein
Benefits of physical therapy-Photo by Dylan-Sauerwein

A physical therapist’s primary role is to help people. This professional regain movement and manage pain following an illness or injury to aid in their recovery. Treatments of physical therapy can be beneficial to people of all ages for a wide range of conditions. These benefits include everything from improving overall health to increased mobility, through hands-on care, education, and prescribed exercise.

Here’s how physical therapy can benefit you.

Avoid Surgery or Speed Recovery Following Surgery

The physical therapy obviously can’t correct something like a heart-valve defect or an appendix that needs to come out. If you have muscle damage, it may eliminate the need for surgery as it can aid in recovery and reduce pain. Even if surgery is necessary, undergoing physical therapy beforehand can help speed healing.

In some situations, physical therapy can be just as effective as surgery. 

For example, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine describes essential findings. Patients suffering from pain due to lumbar spinal stenosis (a common back problem with aging), had a better function. Additionally, they experienced equal symptom relief from physical therapy or surgery.

Pain Relief

Reducing or eliminating pain is the most common benefit of physical therapy. Using manual therapy techniques and therapeutic exercises, a physical therapist helps reduce a patient’s pain level and prevent it from recurring. This technique can also help one to reduce or avoid the need for prescription opioids, a type of narcotic pain medication. While these drugs may be an appropriate part of treatment in some situations, they come with a lot of risks and side effects like nausea, constipation, and drowsiness. When taken for more than just a short period, there is a high risk for depression, overdose, and addiction, not to mention the withdrawal symptoms when stopping use.

Teaching Proper Form

A professional of physical therapy can help you to avoid further injury and prevent pain by teaching you proper form. For example, if you think you might have a rotator cuff injury, something that occurs in people who repeatedly perform overhead motions, like a carpenter, baseball pitcher or tennis player, you can take a rotator cuff tear test at home. If the analysis confirms your suspicions, a physical therapist can show you how to use your shoulder properly to put less strain on it and the other muscles surrounding your shoulder joint. The therapist can also instruct you on the best exercises to alleviate the pain and encourage healing.

Restore Mobility

No matter your current state of fitness or age, strengthening and stretching exercises can help restore your mobility. A physical therapist can create an individual care plan. That program can ease reduce the stress and strain of movement. This movement can be very beneficial for those who have to rely on crutches, a cane, or another type of assistive device.

Improve Balance to Prevent Falls

If you’re at risk of a fall due to an injury or illness, a physical therapist can lead you through exercises that safely challenge your balance. Some activities can help. It improves coordination as well as maneuvers that can perform to alleviate the symptoms of conditions like vertigo to enhance stability.

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Arlene Semeco
Arlene is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Sports Nutritionist by The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN). She completed an MSc in Dietetics and Nutrition from Florida International University and a BSc in Food and Nutrition from The University of Alabama. Arlene has worked in supplement development, sports nutrition and is currently working in clinical nutrition counseling for a rehabilitation hospital. She is a 3-time Olympic swimmer and loves running and paddle boarding. With her expertise in the world of sports, she has been able to apply her knowledge of nutrition to help athletes improve performance and achieve their goals in different sports.

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