“Movement is life, life is a process, improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself”—Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais
Physical therapy is not always everybody’s first choice of treatment. Often, people who suffer from injuries or chronic pain prefer surgery to physical therapy, believing that surgery is a faster and more effective way to treat the problem. However, most primary care doctors refer patients to a physical therapist as the first course of action, because it is the least intrusive approach.
Physical therapy helps people of all ages who have medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that limit their regular ability to move and helps them to return to their prior level of physical functioning.
Wondering what makes physical therapy so important? Here are 5 benefits of receiving physical therapy:
Physical Therapy Promotes Wellness
Physical therapy promotes wellness and teaches proper exercise. Physical therapy is educational. Unlike a WebMD article or an over-the-counter painkiller, physical therapists teach you how to properly care for your body and equip you with valuable information and tools. Patients learn how to exercise properly to avoid recurring injuries or worsening impairments.
Physical Therapy Helps Manage Pain
Chronic pain can be one of the most frustrating conditions to experience, especially if the underlying cause is unknown. However, physical therapy techniques and therapeutic exercises can help mobilize your joints and soft tissue and restore muscle function, reducing aches or eliminating pain altogether. And when patients continue to perform the prescribed physical exercises regularly, it can keep the pain from returning.
Physical Therapy can Prevent Injuries
One of the key aspects of physical therapy involves assessing the weak areas in the patient’s body, and formulating a PT plan that helps strengthen these vulnerable points. By recognizing the areas of muscular or skeletal weakness, a physical therapist can analyze how likely it is that a patient will suffer injury, and create an exercise regimen that targets and strengthens weak muscle groups and joints, thus preventing future injuries in these areas. Effective physical therapy not only helps you heal, but avoids injuries in the future.
Physical Therapy Improves Mobility and Balance
Physical therapy can improve balance and walking. Physical therapy can make you stronger, increase your mobility, and help you feel better. If you are recovering from an injury, it is important you gain your sense of balance to prevent falling or injuring yourself further. Physical therapists teach exercises that help improve balance and coordination to improve walking and other daily activities.
PT can Help Avoid Dependence in Pain Medication
Physical therapy helps patients avoid prescription medications. Just like you can avoid costly surgeries, physical therapy can replace the need to purchase and consume expensive prescription medications. Both the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the CDC (Center for Disease Prevention and Control) both recommend physical therapy as an alternative to opioid prescriptions, especially when opioids are prescribed to mask pain, rather than heal the actual injury.
Overall, physical therapy is a high-benefit, low-risk solution to diagnose and treat many different conditions.
Please keep in mind that this list does not cover all benefits, and you should first consult with your doctor to find out if physical therapy is the right fit for your situation.
If you have questions about how physical therapy may help you or someone you care about, please don’t hesitate to contact your health care provider. For information about the rehabilitation services that Catholic Health Services offers, please visit us at www.CatholicHealthServices.org
Have you gone through physical therapy after an injury or accident? How long did it take you to bounce back? What tips and advice would you offer to anyone who plans to visit a physical therapist?
Feel free to comment below!