Physical therapy can help people improve function and manage pain for a variety of disorders. In some cases, physical therapy programs may include education to help the person increase flexibility and strength.
While physical therapy can cause some discomfort, most people welcome it. They know the long-term benefits of physical therapy outweigh the short-term discomfort.
Who Needs Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy can be used on many ailments including back, neck, shoulder, knee, hip, ankle, and foot problems. It can also be helpful after a person has received an injury.
A very common use of physical therapy is to help a person rehabilitate after surgery. It is a common practice for the surgeon to prescribe PT after knee surgery. This helps the joint to become strong and restores range of motion. It also helps to protect the knee against future injury.
People are often referred to physical therapy after joint and muscular pain, spinal problems, musculoskeletal problems, or sports injuries.
What Will a PT do for Me?
A physical therapist (often called a PT) will provide customized treatment for people. Each program is specific to the individual, who will receive special instructions and exercises to perform. Everyone will heal at a different rate, so a physical therapist will monitor their improvement to keep them on track.
The therapy will typically include different types of exercises and stretches that will help reduce stiffness and increase range of motion and flexibility. Over time the exercises will also help restore strength.
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Sonia Has Lunch with a Friend
Last week Sonia got a call from her friend Jill and they had lunch at a delightful restaurant downtown. It was a great meal, but what interested Sonia the most was the conversation.
Sonia met Jill a few years back when they were working on their bachelor’s degree together. After finishing up her degree, Jill continued on to get her master’s in physical therapy. She had about a year left to get her doctorate and be done with school.
Over lunch, Jill told Sonia about what she was learning in school. Jill had been asking Sonia to join her for some time because of all of the opportunities available in the physical therapy field after graduation.
With two kids to support and an ex-husband that was little help, Sonia chose to start working instead. Unfortunately, in the current economy there weren’t many jobs available in her town.
Maybe it was time for Sonia to take a serious look at physical therapy as a career. She had always done well in her science classes, and she enjoyed helping people. Sonia also knew that Jill would be happy to help her when she needed it.
It is important that you closely follow the directions given to you by the physical therapist. They are there to help you recover as quickly as possible.
Many people that exercise on a regular basis may wonder why they can’t simply do the exercises alone. After all, they have been exercising by themselves for years. Then they justify this behavior by saying they already know what causes the problem.
A physical therapist has had many years of school and practical knowledge on how to do proper rehabilitation. They have continuing education to help them learn about dysfunctions and injuries, and to make sure they stay up-to-date with the latest procedures.
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Every physical therapy session is unique. No two people have the exact same body and they need to be regularly monitored to make sure they are staying on track.
General practitioners do not always have time to work with a patient and explain why a given disability or injury occurs. Without the proper education, you may injure yourself again and make the problem worse.
When people first arrive at a physical therapy office a common question is, how long is this going to take? Frequently the underlying question is how long will their rehabilitation take. Since people heal at a different rate, your therapist will be able to get an idea within a few weeks of how quickly you will make progress. At that point, he or she may be able to give a better idea of how long the process will take.
Since many people, when they first arrive in the office, will either be in pain or having difficulty with their health they may be concerned about what they have to do for the therapist. Physical therapy covers the different aspects of health, from flexibility to pain relief and other areas. A plan will be created for you that clearly defines what you will need to do for each treatment.
Photo courtesy of roger_mommaerts