Any reputable doctor will look for conservative rehabilitation methods as the first approach to treating an injury when possible. One of the most commonly prescribed rehabilitation techniques is physical therapy (PT) – touted by physicians for its myriad benefits.
Millions of patients are referred to physical therapists every year, but the patients oftentimes don’t follow through – leaving countless hours of beneficial PT on the table. However, this patient-specific education on proper body mechanics and movement can not only help heal your injury, but it may also help prevent future injury.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Me?
Physical therapy allows your doctor to assess your overall abilities, including how well you can move, reach, grasp, or climb. Also, your heartbeat and heart rhythm may be analyzed while active and while lying down, and your posture and balance will be evaluated.
Based on your issues following an injury, they’ll personalize a treatment plan that caters to your specific needs to help you get back to feeling and moving normally again – back to how you were before the injury. In essence, your physical therapists will identify any deficiencies you may have that can be improved, so you can move as fully and as pain-free as possible.
Who Should Get Physical Therapy?
Candidates for physical therapy include people who have experienced:
· Sports injuries
· Accident injuries
· Tightness in the arms or legs
· Problems with balance
· Problems walking
· Problems moving the hands or fingers
Basics of Physical Therapy After an Injury
The R.I.C.E. method of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation have its benefits in recovery, but oyou have to also get moving. Your physical therapist will show you how to do a variety of strengthening and stretching exercises to help your muscles thrive again. Practiced consistently, these exercises will help you increase strength and endurance, and they will help maintain or improve your range of motion.
Many PT experts are placing a strong focus on the “core” and activities such as Pilates, which are capable of helping to build a stable foundation for the entire body. This type of exercise is one of the best ways to help prevent acute or overuse injuries.
Pain is a sensation that is all too real for those who suffer from chronic or acute injuries. Thankfully, physical therapists offer a variety of methods to help reduce pain without relying on medications. Ice and heat therapy are important for stimulating blood flow and decreasing inflammation in the body. Today, there are also many methods of relieving inflammation, stiffness, or soreness.
Another area that PT can address is the mind-body connection of the sensation of pain. Electrical stimulation therapies, such as neuromuscular electrical stimulation, can be effective for helping to block the nerve signals that transmit the sensation of pain between the various areas of the body to the brain.
Ultrasound is one frequently used mode of treatment that offers deep heating of the soft tissues, helping to improve circulation and acting as a catalyst for the body’s natural healing process after an injury. In essence, it increases the malleability of tight muscles and tendons to help treat and cure ailments such as “frozen shoulder.”
After an injury, it’s not enough to simply get back “on the horse” and try to heal your injuries yourself. Physical therapists will point out bad habits that could have long-term ramifications to your health, and they will help you replace them with good habits that will help you enjoy living.
Your physical therapist will help ensure you are utilizing proper form and gait. Gait training is a type of PT that can correct how you stand and walk through the use of special exercises. It’s especially valuable for those who have spinal cord injuries, joint replacements, broken legs, strokes, or musculoskeletal disorders.
Who Can Help Me Get Better After an Injury?
Whether you’ve sustained an injury due to sports or from an accident, the benefits of physical therapy are boundless. Physical therapists can help get you back on the path to health following an injury, surgery, or something that’s causing you physical pain.
The team at Watauga Orthopaedics – which consists of physical therapists, occupational therapists, certified hand therapists, and athletic trainers – will work with you and your physician to develop your customized and multidisciplinary healing plan.
For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (423) 282-9011. We look forward to hearing from you today.