Understanding If You Need Physical Therapy

Physical therapy session
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Many people wonder if they are a candidate for physical therapy or if physical therapy can help their ailment. For physical therapists, however, this is an easy question to answer: Most people can benefit from physical therapy, whether their condition varies from a simple ankle sprain to a complex neurological disorder. You may benefit from physical therapy even if you are not injured. Physical therapists, as movement experts, can help you prevent injury or illness.

Physical therapists work in a variety of settings. You can find them in hospitals, nursing homes, and sports clinics. There are even physical therapists who can come to your home after an injury. Physical therapists work with people across the lifespan as well, from birth until the end of life.

Physical therapist Dana Davis describes physical therapy as a conservative treatment method addressing the management, healing, and prevention of injuries and disabilities. I believe this to be very true. Physical therapy uses non-invasive and non-medical tools to help improve total body function.

Physical therapists focus on relieving pain, promoting healing, restoring function and movement, and facilitation and adaptation associated with the injury. Therapy also focuses on ergonomics or body mechanic training, fitness, and wellness. So, as you can see, physical therapy can play a role in most people’s lives. Regardless of your age, if you have a problem with normal mobility, you may benefit from working with a physical therapist to help you return to optimal function.

A list of some of the most common reasons to seek physical therapy includes:

  • Neck pain and low back pain
  • Arthritis in one or multiple joints
  • Fractures and other orthopedic conditions
  • Bowel or bladder incontinence
  • Problems with balance or mobility
  • Chronic fatigue and weakness
  • Pre- and post-surgical conditioning and strengthening
  • Cancer recovery
  • Fitness and wellness education including weight loss and prevention of osteoporosis
  • Respiratory problems / poor cardiovascular endurance
  • Cardiac rehab
  • Knee, ankle and foot problems
  • Shoulder, arm, hand and wrist problems, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and shoulder tendonitis
  • Pre- and post-partum programs
  • Neuro-rehabilitation, such as post-stroke and spinal cord or head injury
  • Wound care such as diabetic wounds and non-healing traumatic or post-surgical wounds
  • Common sprains and muscle strains
  • Work-related injuries such as repetitive motion injuries, slip, and fall accidents and other trauma
  • Sports-related injuries

If you are still confused about whether you need physical therapy or not, discuss your options with your physician. He or she will be able to guide you in the right direction.

A Word From Verywell

If you are having difficulty moving around due to pain, loss of range of motion or decreased strength, you may benefit from working with a physical therapist. If you are looking to avoid getting injured, checking in with your physical therapist is a good idea. He or she can help devise strategies to prevent future episodes of pain or injury.

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