The Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy isn’t what it used to be, it used to be primarily made up of stretching and strengthening.  But it has grown to be a profession where many physical therapists hold either a Master’s Degree or a Doctorate Degree.  Physical therapy clinics can be made up of Physical Therapists, Physical Therapy Assistants, and physical therapy aides.  Physical therapy can have many benefits for a person’s overall health and wellness. It is commonly thought of a place you go after having surgery or after becoming injured. Physical therapy works with people from all age ranges from children to the elderly. We can treat conditions ranging from acute to chronic pain, amputation to stroke recovery, joint replacement to traumatic brain injuries. We see a wide variety of conditions across multiple demographics.

Here at Back in Motion®, we work with orthopedic conditions such as low back, neck pain, muscle strains and sprains, joint replacements, and over-use injuries.   We also offer vestibular rehabilitation, balance training, and dry needling.

I would like to share with you some benefits of physical therapy:

Pain reduction

We use a combination of manual techniques, therapeutic exercise, taping, and modalities such as electrical stimulation, heat, and ice to control and reduce pain. The manual techniques can include soft/deep tissue mobility, myofascial mobilization, and joint mobilization.

Improve strength and mobility

Are you feeling stiff, sore or achy? If you are having trouble standing, walking or moving, know that physical therapy can help restore mobility to help you move better with exercise and gentle stretching of the muscles. Skilled physical therapists can evaluate and identify weaknesses and faulty mechanics to help restore strength and mobility where it is needed. We are also trained in fitting people with assistive devices such as crutches, walkers and canes. These devices can be used to give better stability and make a person feel safer when out and about in their everyday lives.

Balance and fall prevention

If you avoid doings things you enjoy because you feel unsteady on your feet or have a fear of falling, a skilled physical therapist can evaluate your risk for a fall. They can create an individualized plan to mimic real-life scenarios to help improve your balance and coordination. If you suffer from vertigo/dizziness, physical therapists can provide vestibular rehabilitation to help restore vestibular function and stop your world from constantly spinning.

Avoid surgery

Doctors will usually recommend physical therapy as a way to help delay or prevent you from having to get surgery. By reducing your pain, improving your range of motion, and improve your strength, we can reduce your likelihood of having to go under the knife. However, if surgery in unavoidable, we can put you through Pre-hab. By strengthening all of the muscles around the surgical site, we can reduce your recovery time after you have surgery. The stronger we can get you before surgery, the stronger you are likely to be after surgery, making the recovery process more manageable.

Sports injury recovery and prevention

Physical therapists understand the different stresses that athletics can place on the body. We can design individualized programs to help with recovery and prevention strategies to help reduce the risks of re-injury.

Age-related conditions

As we age, many of us will experience arthritic changes that affect our joints and bones such as arthritis and osteoporosis. We can conservatively treat the aches and pains associated with degenerative changes that time takes on us, providing improved mobility for the older population.

Avoid opioids

We are seeing how serious opioid addiction can be for a person’s health and those around them. Most opioid users begin taking them to help with their pain but then become addicted. Medication only places a mask on the issue and does not directly “fix” what is happening.  Physical therapy can help reduce pain and provide you with pain management strategies. The less pain you have, the less you will need to take medication to mask it. Doctors have begun referring people to physical therapy as a safer alternative to pain medications.

Education

One of the most important tools we have is knowledge. It is our knowledge that we want to pass onto you. The better informed you are about your condition, the better choices you can make to reduce and help prevent pain and injury from happening.   Once we educate a patient, we often hear, “I didn’t know THAT was contributing to my pain.”  In many cases patients are doing something that they think is helping reduce the pain but is in fact exacerbating the condition.  One of the most common situations we see is when a person comes in for sciatica and they then tell us they enjoy spending their evening putting their feet up in a recliner.  Putting your legs up in a recliner will actually make sciatica worse and make it harder to get better because it puts the sciatic nerve on stretch. But most people are not aware of this.  We want to give you the tools to manage your condition(s) in the future.

You go to the doctor for your yearly check-up, you see the dentist twice a year to get your teeth cleaned, and you see the eye doctor every 2 years to check your eye health. Physical therapy should be no different. Getting screened for musculoskeletal deficiencies or imbalances should be a regular part of your healthcare maintenance regiment. If you or anyone you know has been dealing with pain, please do not hesitate to contact your physician or physical therapist to address any issues you may be experiencing. Maine is a direct access state, meaning that you do not need a doctor’s referral to see a physical therapist.

 

Here at Back in Motion®, we offer FREE 30 minute pain consultations. If you are living in pain and want to talk to someone to see what your options are, we can be a great source for you. Our highly trained physical therapists can recommend a plan of action to help you to become pain free!

 

Andy Broomhall

Physical Therapist Assistant

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