There is a widespread misconception that physical therapy is primarily for people recovering from surgery, serious injury or the elderly. However, physical therapy can benefit people suffering from pain, limited mobility or flexibility, as well as athletes in their training and development. Today, Pursue Physical Therapy & Performance Training answers some of the most common questions about why physical therapy is important and explains how it can help you.
What is Physical Therapy?
By definition, physical therapy is a specialized type of rehabilitative health that uses physical methods as an alternative to surgery or medication. The goal is to help patients regain or improve their physical abilities. Physical therapy services can alleviate pain, while strengthening, maintaining, and restoring maximum movement and function in patients. The approach to physical therapy that Pursue PT employs includes advanced hands-on techniques such as joint and spinal manipulation/mobilization, which improves joint health, and instrument-assisted soft tissue massage, while blending it with corrective and therapeutic exercises to achieve optimal progress.
Who can Physical Therapy help?
When most people think of who would most benefit from physical therapy, it’s common to immediately think of post-operative patients or the elderly. However, the list is much longer than that.
Athletes of all types and levels, from high school to professional, benefit tremendously from physical therapy whether it’s recovering from an injury or enhancing athletic development. Runners, hockey players, CrossFitters, and even tactical athletes can benefit from physical therapy.
People who are trying to avoid surgery or injections, or post-operative patients who want to manage their pain conservatively, would see a lot of benefit from physical therapy. This also holds true for people managing age-related medical issues such as loss of balance, lack of strength and those who seek to improve mobility and flexibility.
Why Physical Therapy is Important For You
No matter your ailment or injury, physical therapy is a safe and smart way to ensure that you heal properly. People of any age group or athletic ability can reap the benefits of PT, which is often much safer and faster than alternative methods.
For example, people experiencing runner’s knee are commonly instructed to use a foam roller or lacrosse ball on their IT band, which is actually extremely uncomfortable and painful. A much more effective physical therapy approach is to address their strength impairments or limitations in the pelvis, hip, and core areas and work to improve the range of motion and running cadence.
Similarly, an often recommended treatment for plantar fasciitis is rolling a lacrosse ball on the bottom of the foot. Again, this is typically uncomfortable for the patient and doesn’t actually address the underlying issue. The comprehensive approach from a physical therapy standpoint would be to assess the lower back, hips and ankle to find out if the pain is stemming from there. Alternatively, we could treat the plantar fascia itself if that is the culprit. Both methods have the goal of improving foot and ankle mobility, achieving greater toe extension, and strengthening the hip and lower extremities.
Physical therapy is also a fast track to recovery. In cases of non-serious injuries or lingering pain, the traditional route most people take is to call the doctor and wait a couple of weeks to get an appointment. Medical doctors commonly send people for MRIs or an X-ray, which can be another week or two, and ultimately a lot of these patients end up being referred to physical therapy anyway. Rather than delaying your recovery, you could go directly to physical therapy and see improvements within the first few sessions. See image below
In a Nutshell
- PT is good for all ages and levels — injured or post-operative patients are not the only people who should get physical therapy.
- Athletes, people experiencing pain, and those wishing to improve balance or mobility benefit from physical therapy
- Physical therapy offers a much more comprehensive approach than surgery or medication to treat issues such as pain or limited mobility, and can improve related or underlying issues.
Whether you’re an athlete looking to improve agility, someone experiencing nagging pain, or you recently had surgery and want to avoid taking prescription medication, physical therapy can help. Contact Pursue PT for an appointment, and start feeling better today!