Physical therapy is beneficial to people of all ages who have illnesses, injuries, or medical conditions that limit their ability to move and function. It can be used to take care of patients at any phase of healing, from the initial diagnosis, restorative, through to the preventive stages of recovery.
A physical therapy program can be a standalone option or used to support other treatments. It’s purposed to help individuals return to their previous level of functioning and promote activities and lifestyle changes to prevent further injury and improve your overall health and well-being.
What training does a physical therapist have?
In physical therapy, trained and licensed medical professionals evaluate and treat abnormal physical function. They have the knowledge and experience to ensure improved physical, social, emotional, and psychological well-being.
Typically, it takes years of education and rigorous training in areas such as anatomy, biology, kinesiology, and physical fitness to become a physical therapist. Besides, these professionals receive extensive training in patient psychology to understand and help patients cope with the emotional distress associated with physical ailments. Physiotherapists have specialized in fields such as:
- Clinical electrophysiology
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary health
- Orthopedics, Neurology, Pediatrics, Women’s health, and Sports Physical therapy
- Health for older people
What injuries or illnesses can physical therapy help with?
A physical therapist help patients overcome life-threatening diseases, environmental conditions, injuries, disorders, or aging factors. Some conditions that are treated through physical therapy include:
- Cardiopulmonary conditions, like Post-Myocardial Infarction (MI), Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Hand therapy conditions, such as trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome
- Musculoskeletal Dysfunction conditions such as Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ), rotator cuff tears, and back pain
- Neurological conditions like traumatic brain injuries, vestibular dysfunction, spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease
- Pediatric conditions like cerebral palsy, developmental delays, muscular dystrophy
- Sports-related injuries like tennis elbow and concussion
- Pelvic floor dysfunction such as lymphedema, urinary/fecal incontinence, pelvic pain
- Others include diabetic ulcers, wound care, and burns.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy has a plethora of benefits and proves to be as effective as any other course of treatment, if not better. Here are some advantages of physical therapy:
Chronic pain can be one of the most frustrating conditions, especially when the underlying cause is not known. However, therapeutic exercises and techniques such as joint & soft tissue mobilization, ultrasound, and electrical/taping stimulation can help reduce pain and restore joint and muscle function. What’s more, when a patient continues to undergo the prescribed physical exercises regularly, the re-occurrence of pain can be prevented entirely.
Sports come with a significant risk of different types of injuries. Therapists help design an appropriate prevention or recovery exercise program for safety during and after sports.
By assessing the problematic areas, your therapist can formulate a customized physical therapy plan and exercise regimen. The aim is to strengthen the vulnerable body parts, muscle groups, and joints, and this prevents injuries.
Helps avoid surgery
While surgery is unavoidable in some cases, physical therapy is the least intrusive approach and should, therefore, be your first course of action. By reducing pain, assisting in healing injuries, and improving physical health, physical therapy can help facilitate healing and restoring physical mobility on its own, which eliminates the need to go under the knife.
Besides, if surgery becomes inevitable, you can benefit from post-surgery physical therapy. This will get you into good shape and accelerate your recovery process.
Helps recover from a stroke
Many patients experience decreased functionality and loose partial movement after suffering from a stroke. Physical therapy can help you recover from a stroke by strengthening the affected body parts, which improve posture and balance. It also enhances the patient’s ability to become more independent around the home, reducing the burden of helping him/her with activities of daily living.
Helps with age-related health issues
As individual ages, aging-related challenges such as osteoporosis and arthritis start to develop. Seeking Physical therapy services reduces the pain and helps the individual recover from different ailments such as hip or joint replacement and getting a knee. Besides, PT also helps manage osteoporosis and arthritis, among other health-related issues.
Manage diabetes and vascular conditions
As part of a diabetes management plan, therapeutic exercises are effective in controlling blood sugar. The exercises consist of the right combination of weight strengthening and aerobic exercises. Besides, diabetic people face sensation problems in their feet or legs, and customized foot care therapy can help overcome this problem.
After a heart attack, Therapeutic exercises can also be used during cardiac and lung rehabilitation to improve the patient’s functionality in daily living.
Improves balance and mobility
No matter your age, physical therapy is suitable if you have a problem standing, walking, or maintaining balance. The therapeutic strengthening and stretching exercises help improve your mobility. Moreover, PT prevents falls by providing safe exercises to achieve balance.
If the imbalance results from the vestibular system, the therapist performs maneuvers to restore proper vestibular functionality. This eliminates dizziness.
These are just a few benefits of physical therapy. The real benefit is the improvement of your health.