Reasons why physical therapy is beneficial
Physical therapy helps people of all ages who have medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their regular ability to move and function.
A personalized physical therapy program can help individuals return to their previous level of functioning, encouraging activities and lifestyle changes that can help prevent further injuries and improve overall health and well-being. Primary care physicians often refer patients to physical therapy at the first sign of a problem, since it is considered a conservative approach to managing problems.
Have you ever wondered what makes physical therapy so important? Here are the benefits we identified:
1. Reduce or eliminate pain
Therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques such as moving joints and soft tissues, or treatments such as ultrasound, tape or electrical stimulation, can help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function. Treatments like these can also prevent the pain from returning.
2. Avoid invasive surgery
When physical therapy helps restore joint movement and function, surgery may be avoided. Physical therapy alone can help many affected tissues heal without stitches. And if you still need surgery, your pre-operative treatment helps prepare you for surgery and helps you recover faster afterwards.
3. Physical therapy can prevent injuries
One of the main aspects of physical therapy includes assessing weak areas of the patient’s body and formulating a physical therapy plan that helps strengthen these weaknesses. By identifying areas of muscular or skeletal weakness, a physical therapist can analyze the likelihood of a patient being injured, and create an exercise regimen that targets and strengthens weak muscle and joint groups, thus preventing future injuries in these areas.
4. Recover from a stroke
It’s common to lose some degree of function and mobility after a stroke. Physical therapy helps to straighten weak parts of the body, improve gait, and balance. Physiotherapists can also improve stroke patients’ ability to move around in bed so that they are more independent around the home, and reduce the burden of caring for them to use the toilet, shower, dress, and other activities of daily living.
5. Enhance mobility
A physical therapist is able to evaluate, diagnose, and treat health problems related to movement. Each treatment plan is designed with outcome goals for each person. The benefit of physical therapy can help you live pain-free with good mobility.
6. If you have a sports injury
Sports medicine specialists work with everyone from children in youth sports to professional athletes. They can help treat both minor and major injuries and, most importantly from an athlete’s point of view, maintain their competitive edge and, where appropriate, allow them to play safely in their sport with the injury.
Hogan says sports medicine professionals can help healthy athletes improve their performance on the field.
7. Improve mobility
If you have difficulty standing, walking, or moving – regardless of your age – physical therapy can help. Stretching and strengthening exercises help restore your mobility. Physical therapists can properly fit individuals using a cane, crutches, or other assistive devices, or evaluate an orthopaedic prescription. By customizing an individual care plan, any activity important to an individual’s life can be undertaken and adapted to ensure maximum performance and safety.
8. Improve your balance and prevent falls
In the early stages of physiotherapy, our patients undergo a fall risk assessment. If they are at risk of falling, our therapists will provide exercises that safely challenge your balance as a way to imitate real-life situations. Therapists will also assist with exercises to improve coordination and, if necessary, assistive devices to aid safe walking. When the problem with balance is caused by a problem with an individual’s vestibular system, our physiotherapists can perform specific maneuvers that can quickly restore proper vestibular functioning, reduce and eliminate symptoms of dizziness or lightheadedness.
9. Physical therapy can also help to tackle general health issues
One of the less obvious advantages of physical therapy is that it helps deal with and manage many age-related health issues, including joint pain, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Physiotherapy is considered to be safer and more conservative for older patients, as it gives them a less traumatic alternative to undergoing joint replacement surgery. The benefits of physiotherapy have also proven effective for patients with heart problems, as it improves cardiovascular function.
10. Manage diabetes and vascular conditions
As part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan, exercise can help effectively control blood sugar. Additionally, people with diabetes may have problems with sensation in their feet and legs. Physical therapists can help provide and educate these patients on proper foot care to prevent further problems in the future.
11. Physical therapy can manage age-related issues
As individuals age, they may develop arthritis, osteoporosis, or require joint replacement. Physical therapists are experts in helping patients recover from joint replacement, and conservatively managing cases of arthritis or osteoporosis.
12. Physical therapy can manage heart and lung disease
While patients may complete cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack or procedure, they may also receive physiotherapy if their daily functioning is affected. For lung problems, physical therapy can improve the quality of life through strengthening, conditioning and breathing exercises, and helping patients clear fluid in the lungs.
13. Physical therapy can help avoid dependence on pain medication
Oftentimes, after surgery, there can be long-term pain problems that require treatment. To reduce the risk of relying on pain relievers (mainly opioids), physiotherapy can be a safe option for treating pain problems from surgery.