Every year, about 70 million Americans sustain nonfatal injuries. More than 140,000 more die from injuries, making injury the leading cause of premature death across the country. Physical injury is also the leading cause of lost future work life, ahead of cancer and heart disease.
The statistics surrounding injury are truly heartbreaking. But there’s always something you can do to prevent injury from permanently denting the quality of your life. Getting quality physical therapy (PT), for instance, can prove effective in helping you recover from your injury.
But what exactly is physical therapy? How exactly does it benefit a patient? How do you choose the best physical therapy services provider for you?
These are just some of the issues we discuss in this comprehensive guide. Keep reading to learn more.
WHAT IS PHYSICAL THERAPY?
Physical therapy refers to the treatment of an injury, a deformity, or disease using physical methods rather than drugs or surgery. These physical methods include heat treatment, massage, balance training, and exercise. Physical therapy is also known as physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy aims to help people with physical injuries and other medical problems that cause pain and limit their movement, thereby limiting their ability to function well in their daily lives.
There are many injuries that may require physical therapy, including:
- Musculoskeletal dysfunction such as back pain, cuff tears, and osteoarthritis
- Sports-related injuries including hamstring strains, concussions, and ACL tears
- Carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive wrist and hand motions that aggravate tendons
- Whiplash caused by acute injury after a car accident
THE IMPORTANCE OF PHYSICAL THERAPY
Why do health experts recommend physical therapy for people who have suffered an injury? The simple answer is that physical therapy works. Here are seven reasons to see a physical therapist.
1. PT HELPS MANAGE PAIN
Few conditions are more frustrating than chronic pain. There are physiotherapy techniques and therapeutic exercises that are effective in:
- Restoring muscle function
- Mobilizing joints
- Reducing aches
- Alleviating pain
If you continue performing the therapeutic exercise your therapist recommends, you can prevent the pain from returning.
2. IT CAN HELP YOU AVOID SURGERY
In some situations, surgery is unavoidable. In many others, however, you do not have to go under the knife to get healed.
Physical therapy for an acute injury can help eliminate pain, assist with the healing, and improve your physical health. This therapy helps heal the injured tissue and facilitates full mobility on its own. In cases where you’ve already gone through surgery, physiotherapy can help you recover much faster.
3. PHYSIOTHERAPY CAN PREVENT INJURIES
PT usually involves assessing a patient’s weak areas and formulating a physiotherapy plan to help strengthen vulnerable points.
After identifying the areas of skeletal and muscular weakness in your body, your physical therapist will analyze your likelihood of suffering an injury. They’ll then develop an exercise regimen that aims at strengthening any weak joints and muscle joints, hence averting future injuries in these areas.
4. PT BOOSTS MOBILITY AND BALANCE
Depending on the severity of the injury or how big the surgery was, it can be difficult for you to get back on your feet. Injury and surgery can limit mobility, making simple tasks like eating, writing, walking, or even balancing the body a big challenge.
During such situations, physiotherapy can come in handy. There are many therapeutic exercises that restore mobility and make walking around safer. These exercises also improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls when moving around.
5. PHYSICAL THERAPY HELPS AVOID DEPENDENCE ON PAIN MEDICATION
Once you’ve been injured and gone through surgery, you may experience long term pain issues that you need to deal with. Some people opt for pain medication such as opioids to manage this chronic pain. Unfortunately, such drugs can have side effects, and the cost of buying these drugs can add up.
A safer, more cost-effective treatment for pain is physical therapy.
6. PHYSIOTHERAPY CAN HELP TACKLE GENERAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
An added advantage of physiotherapy is that it can help handle and manage other health problems. These issues include joint pains, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Unlike joint replacement surgery, physiotherapy is far less traumatic.
PT has also been shown to be effective for other health conditions such as heart and lung disease. The treatment is also beneficial for people who have suffered from a stroke. The treatment helps strengthen parts of the body that have lost movement as a result of the stroke.
CHOOSING A PHYSICAL THERAPY PROVIDER
Choosing the right physical therapist for you can boost your chances of getting well as soon as possible. Here are three tips on how to make the right choice.
WORK WITH A CERTIFIED PT PROVIDER
To practice PT, one needs to have a degree from an officially recognized physiotherapy program. They also must have passed the national licensure exam.
Find out whether your prospective physiotherapist is certified before you entrust your health to them. If a PT provider is unwilling to prove they are licensed, it’s a major red flag.
INQUIRE THEIR AREA OF SPECIALIZATION
Different physiotherapists specialize in different areas of PT. Some specialize in sports medicine, while others specialize in joint replacement.
There are physiotherapists for back and neck strain, pediatric care, geriatric patient therapy, and so on. Find out whether the physiotherapist you are talking to specializes in your particular problem.
CHECK WHETHER THEY’RE IN YOUR INSURANCE PROGRAM
Chances are you intend to pay for your physiotherapy sessions using your health insurance. It’s important to make sure that the physiotherapist you choose participates in your insurance program. This may mean looking for physiotherapy providers in your area.
Call before visiting the clinic to get this information from the outset. You can also inquire from your insurance provider which providers are part of their program.
PHYSIOTHERAPY AFTER AN INJURY CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE
Getting physical therapy is one of the best decisions you can make once you’ve suffered physical injury. This treatment helps you regain flexibility, mobility, alignment, and strength as quickly as possible. Besides, PT helps you avoid the chronic pain that physical injuries often bring.
Are you looking for reliable physiotherapy services? Please contact us today.