October is National Physical Therapy Month!
Physical therapy is a wonderful tool at any stage of life and in many situations. Physical therapists are highly trained and educated. They carry a deep knowledge of the body and an understanding of how to help you reach your goals. With their knowledge and coaching, your quality of life can increase.
Physical therapy is a rehabilitative health practice that uses exercise and specialized equipment. PT increases strength, endurance and flexibility. Your doctor may prescribe PT after a surgery or injury to progress healing. People with developmental delays or disabilities can benefit from regular physical therapy. For this population, increased independence may be achieved.
If you’re on the fence about scheduling physical therapy for yourself, let’s look at 7 reasons why it’s a great idea.
PT Reduces or Removes Pain
Physical pain is common, but you don’t need to live with it. It affects our body, mind and emotions. Pain can keep us up at night, stealing precious sleep, a very important part of your body’s ability to heal.
Physical therapists use various forms of equipment to localize and treat pain. Both an acute injury and chronic longlasting pain can create a domino effect through the body. Your PT has the knowledge to target this train of pain and treat it. They can also monitor movement patterns we may not be aware of that contribute to the pain. Targeted exercises with their guidance, teach our body a healthier way to move pain free.
Age, surgery, injuries and pregnancy all contribute to a loss of flexibility. Maintaining healthy, balanced flexibility throughout our life may prevent injury and chronic pain. Physical therapists provide safe and effective methods of improving flexibility. Attempting to do this on our own may cause pulled muscles and overstretched tendons. Let’s not cause more harm than good. Those with hyper-mobility, do physical therapy to build strength and balance mobility. This can prevent injury.
Improve Balance and Prevent Falls
As we age, many injuries are due to a fall. If you notice you’ve been more wobbly than usual lately, let’s stop that fall from happening in the first place.
Physical therapy builds body awareness, balanced strength and core strength. When we slip or start to lose balance, it’s often our core muscles that kick into gear and keep us on our feet. Building your core, isn’t a matter of doing a few crunches. You have several layers of core muscles that can strengthen to give you a strong core. Your PT can create a specific plan that’s right for you.
Chronic inflammation can trigger joint damage, among other injuries. Through physical therapy, inflammation can reduce. This means less pain, greater mobility and less chance you’ll have to endure surgery. If surgery happens, your doctor may recommend post operative physical therapy as well. Let’s lessen your chance of going that route and begin with by starting a physical therapy regime.
Recover from Stroke
According to the CDC, almost 800,000 Americans will have a stroke. The type of therapy post stroke, will depend on what part of the brain was injured. Many types of therapy help you recover from a stroke. You may go through speech, occupational, talk therapy and physical therapy.
Physical therapy helps stroke patients regain physical mobility. Physical therapy helps patients relearn to walk, move limbs, restore balance and coordination. Recovery from a stroke can be a long journey. Having a committed and encouraging physical therapist to help you is invaluable.
Women go through many phases and changes in their body and health. Physical therapy can be an excellent tool through these life transitions. Pregnancy, labor and postpartum health is different for each woman and each pregnancy. When you get pregnant, your mind, conversations and energy goes to thinking about the baby. New moms can experience drastic changes in their own bodies and not just weight gain.
Pre and post natal bodies can develop diastasis recti. This is when core muscles separate. Over stretched ligaments, back pain, posture changes and birthing injury are all reasons to see a PT post partum.
After my first child, I wore a poorly structured baby carrier for a full day. This resulted in massive pain, shoulder injury and nerve damage. I tried everything from massage, acupuncture and epsom salt baths. Nothing helped until I went to physical therapy for several months. I relearned healthy posture, balanced my torso flexibility and restored core strength. Being able to hold my baby pain free made me a happier and better mom.
Both pregnancy and aging can trigger incontinence in women. It’s common, it’s uncomfortable and at times embarrassing. Physical therapists work with women to restore their pelvic floor, reducing its effects.
Heal from Injuries
Physical therapy can aid the healing process in both major and minor injuries. Specialized equipment activates healing on a cellular level. Your movement may be limited post injury. Assisted stretches by your PT restore and regain this lost flexibility.
Rebuilding muscle loss in the injured area speeds up the healing process. It can also prevent re-injury in the same area. Acute and chronic injuries cause painful nerve damage. Hitting the gym solo can often make it worse. Through safe and specific treatment, your physical therapist assists your restoration.