An injury or an illness can be a big setback for anyone. Whether you’re an athlete, work a manual labor job, or even if you sit at a desk, a physical health issue can make it difficult to do your job. It can make it difficult for a person to handle their own self care, such as dressing, bathing, personal hygiene, preparing food, and maintaining the home. Depending on the condition, a person may need help for weeks, months, or even years.
But what if there was a way you could bounce back quicker from an injury, surgery, or health condition? There is a way. It’s called physical therapy and it can make a significant difference in your recovery time. In fact, physical therapy has a myriad of health benefits. Consider the following ways that physical therapy could improve your life.
Reduce and Relieve Pain
One of the biggest benefits of physical therapy is pain relief. Physical therapy can help to reduce your pain and potentially eliminate it completely. How does it do so? By treating the pain at the source. If your pain comes from an injury to a muscle or a joint, physical therapy helps to strengthen the injured muscle or muscles, which can also help to relieve joint pain. Pain can cause you to move in incorrect ways that reduce the pain temporarily, making it necessary to learn or relearn how to properly move your body. When you correct your posture or the way you walk, it can relieve the pain you were experiencing from the incorrect movements.
Loosening up the body is another way that physical therapy helps to relieve pain. When muscles are tight from swelling and inflammation, moving your body during physical therapy warms up the muscles, improves circulation, and allows them to stretch and heal. Increasing blood flow also helps the healing blood cells to reach the injured area.
If you struggle with range of motion or mobility in general, physical therapy can help. As your body learns to move properly and your muscles get stronger, you will be able to move in ways you couldn’t before, ways that the body is supposed to be able to move. And the easier it is for you to move and get around, the better your overall health will be.
Physical therapy may help you ditch your cane or walker so you can walk independently. It may allow you to run when you could only walk. Some patients even manage to walk again after spending time in a wheelchair due to physical therapy.
In some cases, an injury can be rehabilitated through physical therapy so that you can avoid surgery. Some injuries may need to be surgically repaired, but physical therapy may be enough to correct an injury without surgery. When you avoid surgery, you avoid the risks associated with going under anesthesia. You avoid post-operative pain and the possibility of infection. And you avoid the downtime you’ll spend recovering.
Another of the biggest benefits of physical therapy is improved balance. With injury, and often with age, comes balance problems. Balance problems occur for a variety of reasons from poor posture to lack of muscular strength. Physical therapy can correct balance problems caused by injuries and age so that you can avoid falls that may lead to future injuries.
With improved balance you may be able to get around without the assistance of a cane or walker. You can gain some of your independence back when falling is no longer a consistent concern for you.
Reduce and Prevent Headaches
Physical therapy has proven to be effective at relieving headache pain and preventing recurring headaches. If you suffer from migraines (severe headaches), physical therapy may be able to reduce the frequency of your migraines or even eliminate them.
How does physical therapy relieve headaches? It helps to relieve tension in the neck and shoulder muscles that is often the cause of headaches. Physical therapy can improve your posture when you’re up and moving and when you’re sitting. Proper posture can relieve neck pain that is associated with slouching and looking down, which in turn can relieve or reduce headache pain.
Recover From a Stroke
As you probably know, a stroke is caused by a blockage that interrupts the flow of blood to the brain, often resulting in significant brain damage. Stroke victims may lose the ability to move their facial muscles, which makes it difficult to speak and eat. They also lose control of other muscles throughout the body, making it difficult to move their limbs. People who have suffered a stroke may have to relearn how to move various muscles and body parts, either on one side of the body or both.
Physical therapy can help someone recover from a stroke much more quickly. Physical therapists can apply strategies to help stroke patients learn how to reactivate specific muscles and how to get messages from the brain to various body parts. For some patients it is possible to make a full and complete recovery from a stroke, and others are able to greatly improve their abilities.
Recover From Cardiovascular Disease
If you’ve suffered a heart attack or some other cardiovascular episode or condition, physical therapy can help you make a faster and more complete recovery. The heart is a muscle like the other muscles in your body. It responds to exercise and can get stronger with cardiovascular rehabilitation, which is a specific form of physical therapy that is geared at healing and strengthening the heart. It can help you recover more quickly from a cardiovascular issue and help prevent further issues.
Improve Respiratory Function
Pulmonary physical therapy focuses on improving your breathing after a respiratory illness or surgery. The muscles that control your breathing, such as your diaphragm, can be strengthened by physical therapy. Just as importantly, your posture can affect your breathing. If you slouch your shoulders and walk or sit hunched over, your lungs may not be able to get a full breath. Most people only use a portion of their lung capacity on a regular basis, but physical therapy can help you learn how to make the most of your lung capacity and breath more effectively.
Helps With Female-Specific Conditions
There are some female-specific health issues that physical therapy can address, many of which are the result of the effects of pregnancy on the body. Pregnancy can weaken or even damage the core muscles including the abdominal and back muscles, leading to lower back pain. Pelvic floor muscles are often affected by labor and delivery, causing urinary and sometimes bowel incontinence. Physical therapy can address all of these conditions and help women recover from pregnancy and be more prepared for future pregnancies.
There are other female issues that are not only associated with pregnancy that physical therapy can address, including pain during intercourse and pelvic exams. Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist to determine whether physical therapy might be able to help with your condition.
Helps With Male-Specific Conditions
There are also some male-specific health conditions that physical therapy can address. Weak pelvic floor muscles can also affect men, causing issues such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction. Physical therapy can also help with prostate health, including recuperation from prostate surgery.
Get Back To Your Sport Faster
If you’re an athlete who is recovering from an injury, physical therapy can accelerate your recovery and help you get back to your sport in a shorter time. An injury doesn’t have to put you out for the season or force you to lose all of your hard-earned progress. Physical therapy can not only help you get back to where you were before your injury, but make you even stronger so that you’re less likely to be reinjured.
Less Time Off Work
Physical therapy can help you get back to work sooner after an injury, surgery, or illness. Time off work may seem like a nice break, but it’s hard to enjoy it when you’re laid up. And short term disability may not pay as well as your full salary, if disability is even an option for you. Save your paid time off for a vacation or something you’ll enjoy.
Physical Therapy Tips
If you want to get the most out of it, here are some physical therapy tips:
- Follow your recommended appointment schedule. Your physical therapist will schedule your appointments according to their recommendation for your treatment. It is important that you keep up with this schedule and avoid moving your appointments. If too much time passes between appointments, you may not make the desired progress.
- Work on your exercises on your own. The success of your physical therapy depends on how much you put into it. Your physical therapist will show you what to do during your appointments and help you through your exercises there. But you will also need to do your exercises on your own between appointments according to your physical therapist’s recommendations. The work you put in on your own is what makes a real difference in how fast you bounce back after an injury, illness, or surgery.
- Set realistic goals for yourself. It is important to set goals so that you have something to work towards. But those goals need to be realistic and achievable, otherwise you will get easily discouraged when you don’t reach them. Set small goals at first until you see how you are progressing, then make larger goals as you go.
- Communicate effectively with your physical therapist. Open communication between you and your physical therapist is very important. You need to be able to ask questions and tell your therapist what you’re feeling. This is a crucial element of success.
Get Back on Track with Kim Chiropractic & Rehab
Do you want to recover faster from an injury, surgery, or illness? Kim Chiropractic & Rehab provides physical therapy services that can help you heal and get stronger so you can get back to your life as it was, or experience a higher quality of life than you had before.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you get your life back.