Physical Therapy Can Help Prevent Falls
Physical therapy, sometimes referred to as physical therapy, is an area of medicine focused on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Physiotherapists, physical therapists, and athletic trainers provide a variety of therapeutic services to patients with musculoskeletal disorders. These include diagnosis and planning of therapeutic exercise programs; the implementation of those programs in the patient’s medical environment; and the maintenance of those programs after the treatment is completed. Physical therapists also provide services in managing pain and improving strength and flexibility of the musculoskeletal system. They may perform physical therapy activities such as strengthening and stretching, balance and coordination exercises, and the use of devices such as weights, braces, whirlpool baths, TENS, weights, rollerblades, treadmills, etc. They may also refer their patients to rehabilitation specialists or physicians specializing in the disorders.
The most common disorders treated through physical therapy are sports injuries, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, fractures, and spinal cord injuries. Orthopedic surgeons generally perform surgery involving the musculoskeletal system when these conditions become serious enough to avoid surgery. After surgery, orthopedic surgeons usually provide physical therapy to reduce the effects of pain and physical therapy and rehabilitative exercises to improve function. Physical therapy and rehabilitation sometimes work together to achieve better results.
Common exercises typically recommended for treating athletic injuries are stretching exercises, strength training, and rehabilitation exercises. The extent and frequency of exercises and the timing of the exercises are individualized based on the severity of the injury, the pain experienced, and the overall health of the patient. For example, if a patient suffers from a traumatic injury resulting from playing sports, he or she will need a different kind of physical therapy than a patient suffering from a fractured leg due to falling. Similarly, if a patient is suffering from pain after doing some form of exercise, he or she may not be the best candidate for rehabilitation exercises because such exercises do not help alleviate pain. Such patients may require a different type of exercise that helps prevent pain after a workout or physical therapy session.
If you have been injured, and are in need of physical therapy to rehabilitate your physical function, you will be given individualized instructions by your physical therapist. Sometimes, physical therapy consists of both actual physical activity and stretching exercises. Other times, just simple exercise, such as walking, may be enough for your rehabilitation. Your physical therapist will determine exactly how much exercise you should do and at what frequency. You should not start any exercise regimen until your doctor gives you the okay.
The reason why you have pain after doing a certain physical therapy exercise may be due to a pulled muscle or an osteoarthritic bone. To treat the pain after such an injury, your physical therapist will teach you specific exercises to strengthen your muscles and minimize the pain you are feeling. If the damage is extensive and the tissues around your hip bone have been damaged beyond repair, surgery may be necessary. In this case, your physical therapist will first use physical therapy to decompress your hip and then perform surgery to replace the tissues. In many cases, the injured person never has to lift a finger again.
It takes time and patience to regain the strength and mobility of your joints and muscles. Be sure to follow your physical therapist’s advice regarding your exercises. Don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Take it easy at first and don’t push yourself to the point where you are tearing yourself apart. Give yourself time to heal. Even if it takes several months before your muscles and joints feel like regular parts of your body again, you should see significant progress.
During the physical therapy process, your therapist will teach you how to properly perform exercises that will relieve pain and use electrical stimulation to target pain-prone areas. Some common pain-related exercises include deep pelvic tilts, walking and stretching. Electrical stimulation can be performed with the use of an electrical current or with the help of heat. Physical therapists often combine these methods in order to provide the most benefit for their patients.
In addition to providing relief of pain and disability, physical therapy can help prevent falls in elderly, disabled, and developmentally disabled individuals. Physical therapists can provide advice on how to prevent falls by making sure patients don’t sit or stand for long periods of time. They can also recommend special slip-resistant shoes and other safety measures that can protect you from injury. Finally, they can educate you on how to properly take medications to alleviate pain, such as over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers.