It’s Physical Therapy Month! Let’s Celebrate by Moving!

Show of hands: How many of you aren’t exercising, participating in family activities, participating in your hobbies, or simply aren’t moving more than necessary due to pain?

For a while I had to raise my hand for that too. Luckily, I had the help and knowledge to know I need to keep moving the right way to allow my injuries to heal to get back on track with my lifestyle changes. Many don’t always get that information soon enough. So, in honor of National Physical Therapy Month, I want to help us all celebrate by moving. Even if you are having pain. It is the best medicine and, I think, is often under prescribed.

Related: The Most Important Exercise You Can Do

I get a lot of patients who say, “well it hurts when I move so I haven’t been moving much.”

These patients also tend to say the pain is actually worse after they haven’t been moving and THEN move. That is the key. I found this awesome picture from the GetPT1st campaign on Twitter talking about movement and back pain.

Courtesy GetPT1st

25-40% with ANY exercise! That’s amazing. How many have been told not to move or do anything when they hurt their back? Now that isn’t to say go out and do a bunch of weight lifting and heavy exercise while your back is hurting. If the movement or exercise isn’t done right it certainly won’t help the situation. But that is where PT comes in. We are trained to evaluate movement and help get you moving in a way that doesn’t increase the pain you may be experiencing. This can be very helpful with either returning to, or starting up, an exercise program.

Related: Core Strengthening Exercises for Back Pain Relief
Courtesy GetPT1st

There are similar findings with knee pain. Who wouldn’t want to avoid going under the knife and still get the results? I may be a little biased but sign me up. I personally am recovering from a knee injury and it always feels much better after I work on it using exercises that I would use on my own patients. For this same reason I decided to join a gym on my own fitness journey (which some of you have likely been following). I let the knee injury hinder me for too long and didn’t do enough early on to keep my physical activity up. Now that I am back at it everything feels better.

We also know movement and exercise has a big impact on areas of the body that aren’t necessarily painful.

The American Diabetes Association wrote a position statement about how movement and exercise tailored to the individual can help with strength, cardiovascular endurance and change insulin sensitivity. This is exercise alone. Not factoring in the use of insulin and other forms of treatment for diabetes. They also state moderate to vigorous activity can help people with diabetes actually live longer! And if you aren’t sure how to get going a PT can help you with that. As I said we are trained in movement. How to make it better. How to make it happen and how to tailor that movement and exercise to the individual.

Related: Simple Exercises that Improve Your Health

I know that when I work out regularly using exercises that I enjoy I get more out of it and my aches or pains or ailments that I may be dealing with feel better. I also see it work with patients every day. If you have questions on how to get started or have pain preventing you from starting, please call us to schedule your free consultation and see how we can help get you moving! Happy National Physical Therapy Month!

By Phil Finemore, PT, DPT

Back in Motion® Physical Therapy – Gorham, Maine