10 Reasons You Should Stick to Your Physical Therapy Routine
October 11 2022
How Physical Therapy can Improve Your Overall Health
Physical therapy, or PT as it is often referred to, helps people of all ages with medical conditions, illnesses, or injuries that limit their ability to move and function.
Physical therapy is not the same as an exercise regimen used to maintain or lose weight or to gain muscle. Instead, it is a customized program prescribed by a professional in the field that helps you return to your prior level of functioning. PT also encourages activities and lifestyle changes that can prevent further injury and improve overall health.
Many doctors will refer patients to physical therapy at the first sign of a problem, as it is considered a much more conservative approach to managing issues. But what makes physical therapy so important?
Here are 10 reasons why you should stick to your physical therapy routine.
1 | Reduces or Eliminates Pain
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 20 percent of American adults suffer from chronic pain every day. Therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques used in physical therapy can help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function.
2 | Helps You Avoid Surgery
Surgery is invasive and often done when there are no other options. Physical therapy can help you avoid surgery by helping resolve issues in non-invasive ways. It also has the benefit of reducing your health costs as PT is less expensive than surgery. However, if surgery is needed, pre-surgery physical therapy can be very beneficial and helps you recover faster. You might also be prescribed post-surgery PT.
3 | Improves Your Strength and Mobility
Physical therapy can help you gain strength and improve your mobility. It is often used to help those who have issues walking or moving, no matter their age. Your physical therapist often prescribes stretching and strengthening exercises to help restore mobility. They can properly fit you with a cane, crutches, or other assistive devices, or assess for orthotic prescription. They can also help you adapt to allow you to continue with the activities you deem important to your life, ensuring your safety while doing those activities.
4 | Improves Your Balance and Prevents Falls
When you begin physical therapy, you get screened for fall risk. If you are at high risk for falls, your therapist will provide exercises that safely and carefully challenge your balance to reduce your fall risk. They will also prescribe exercises that improve coordination, and may recommend the use of an assistive device for safer walking. If balance issues are caused by a problem in your vestibular system (such as vertigo), your therapist can perform specific maneuvers that can help restore proper vestibular functioning and reduce dizziness.
5 | Helps Manage Age-Related Issues
As we age, we can develop arthritis or osteoporosis. We might also need a joint replacement. Physical therapy can help manage these age-related issues by helping patients manage pain from specific conditions or recovering after a joint replacement.
6 | Can Help You Recover from a Stroke
After a stroke, it is common to lose some degree of movement. Physical therapy can help strengthen weakened parts of the body and improve gait and balance. Your therapist can also help improve your ability to transfer and move around in bed so that you can live more independently and reduce the burden of assistance with hygiene care, toileting, and dressing.
7 | Helps Manage Diabetes and Vascular Conditions
Exercise can help control blood sugar as part of an overall diabetes management plan. However, if you suffer from a loss of sensation in your feet and legs from diabetes or a vascular condition, physical therapists can help educate you on proper foot care to prevent further problems down the road.
8 | Helps Manage Heart and Lung Disease
Physical therapy may be part of your recovery after a heart attack or heart procedure if your daily functioning is affected. For pulmonary issues, physical therapy can also improve quality of life through strengthening, conditioning, and breathing exercises as well as helping patients clear fluid in the lungs.
9 | Can Help You Recover from an Accident or Sports Injury
An injury or accident can leave us with limited mobility. Physical therapy can help you recover that mobility and improve strength. This can be particularly important after a sports injury. Therapists can design an appropriate recovery or prevention exercise program to ensure a safe return to your sport and reduce reinjury.
10 | Helps Manage Women’s Health and Other Conditions
Women have specific health concerns, such as pregnancy and postpartum care. Physical therapy may be prescribed to help with these specific concerns. Additionally, PT can also provide special treatment for many other conditions including bowel or urinary incontinence, breast cancer, constipation, fibromyalgia, male pelvic health, pelvic pain, and lymphedema.