Physical therapy has proven to be beneficial to people of all ages, with a wide variety of conditions, illnesses, or injuries. From increased mobility to improved overall health, there are numerous ways physical therapy can change a patient’s quality of life. Let’s delve deeper into the top 7 ways physical therapy positively impacts those who partake in it.
The Benefits of Physical Therapy
Reduce or Eliminate Pain
This benefit is the one most commonly associated with physical therapy. Through therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques, physical therapists can reduce their patients’ pain levels and even prevent pain from returning in the future. Other therapies include joint and soft tissue mobilization, taping, and even electrical stimulation.
Be an alternative to surgery.
Obviously this benefit is not applicable in every situation that requires surgery: all the physical therapy in the world can’t help an inflamed appendix or a heart-valve defect. But in the case of muscle damage, physical therapy can reduce pain and aid in healing, potentially eliminating the need for surgery all together. And even when surgery is required, pre-surgery physical therapy may also help ensure a speedy recovery.
Regardless of a patient’s age or physical fitness, stretching and strengthening exercises can help restore your ability to move. Especially for individuals who rely on a cane, crutches, or any other assistive device, an individual care plan developed by their physical therapist can ease the strain and stress of movement.
Help patients recover from a stroke.
After a stroke, it’s fairly common to lose some degree of function and movement. Physical therapy can help patients regain gait and balance, as well as strengthening weakened parts of the body.
Aid in recovery from sports related injuries.
Athletes at every level face the risk of injuring themselves. Stress fractures, torn muscles, strained tendons; physical therapists rely on their knowledge of the body to create an appropriate recovery or prevention exercise programs to help enable their patients a speedy return to their respective sports.
Improve balance and prevent falls.
When a patient begins a physical therapy treatment, they’re often screened for fall risk. If they’re at high risk, their physical therapist will lead them through exercises that safely challenge their balance. Other exercises might be used to help improve coordination—incorporating an assistive device for walking, for example. If the balance problem is caused by a problem in a patient’s vestibular system—such as vertigo—there are specific maneuvers that a therapist will perform to help alleviate symptoms.
Aid in managing diabetes and vascular conditions.
Patients with diabetes may have problems with sensation in their feet and legs. Physical therapists will educate these patients on proper foot care, to help avoid further complications later on. Exercise can also help control blood sugar levels.
Physical therapy and the therapists that practice are integral to the improved health, mobility, and quality of life for many patients. And the history behind their branch of medicine is an interesting one—as discussed in our previous blog.
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