Physical therapy has significantly grown out from what most people still think of it as being – injury rehabilitation. What was once considered a recommendation for the injured and post-op surgery patients, has now become a reliable alternative to many other “traditional” medicinal approaches. Physical therapy is quickly becoming a more popular alternative than opioids and has been proven to be just as effective as surgery in many cases.
Some people may still view physical therapy in the confines of injury rehabilitation – and indeed, this is physical therapy’s best service. However, other than helping you recover from an injury, a physical therapist’s goal is your overall well-being and to reduce the necessity of medical intervention in the future – whether it’s surgery or prescriptions. Physical therapy has three main goals in addition to its traditional goal of injury rehabilitation:
- Restore and improve functionality in your body, especially those problem areas.
- Reduce pain and even prevent it without the need for prescription medication.
- Increase mobility and proper movement.
It’s these three goals that are so important to age healthily and age well, as it’s functionality, pain, and mobility that become a problem as one gets older.
Restores And Improves Functionality And Mobility
Your body functioning correctly and you having mobility are two crucial necessities for staying physically independent. When an area of your body is not functioning correctly it can make it difficult to live a normal life. An example of this in which physical therapy can help is urinary incontinence. It’s a common problem for the elderly, as well as for women who have gone through childbirth. Yet, many people don’t realize that it’s a condition that physical therapy can treat. Physical therapists are experts at restoring functionality and improving mobility. They can spot the weaknesses that are causing the problems and prescribe exercises that will get you back to normal.
Many stroke survivors may have difficulty with mobility and functionality, depending on severe the stroke. Physical therapists work to slowly build strength, control, and functionality. Physical therapy is also effective in improving balance through improving functionality and mobility, which can reduce falls in the elderly.
Reduces Pain From Common Conditions
Physical therapy is the best-proven alternative to prescription pain medication. It uses science and biomechanics to treat pain caused by common conditions of aging. Most people don’t believe there is a nondrug solution for arthritis, cancer pain, carpal tunnel, or other painful conditions. However, physical therapy has been proven time and again to not only help treat pain but reduce it.
How does it do this?
Physical therapists not only look at the area that’s causing pain, but they look for the underlying cause of the pain. They then treat the source, instead of just masking the pain. They look for signs of weakness and stiffness, which could be leading to the pain. Movement helps increase circulation and blood flow, which helps reduce pain in many cases. Stiffness is one of the main causes of pain, especially in conditions such as arthritis. The right exercises can reduce stiffness and swelling, both of which can cause pain.
Age Well With Physical Therapy
It may not be the first thing that people think of when it comes to growing old, but physical therapy is one of the best ways to age well. With the right exercises, you can grow stronger and more coordinated to maintain independence. Furthermore, it’s effective at managing pain if you’re looking to avoid addictive opioids that simply mask the pain instead of treating it.
Doctors are recommending physical therapy more often because of the wide range of benefits it offers to people in every stage of their life and with any condition. In many cases, you don’t need to wait for a doctor recommendation to seek out a physical therapist. Because physical therapy is so beneficial for treating many conditions and problems, they should be a part of your health and wellness team to ensure that you age well.