Most people have heard of physical therapy but not as many have tried it. Some people think that physical therapy is just a bunch of silly exercises that don’t do a lot of good. Others think that it is a waste of money. Actually, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in the treatment of many common injuries, like spinal stenosis or tears in the meniscus. In fact, if you are in pain and nothing else is working, it’s worthwhile to try finding a physical therapist who can help you feel better.
Things Physical Therapy Can Offer
While many physical therapists will give you exercises to do, physical therapy offers a lot of other things, too.
Physical therapists can help you manage pain and the inflammation that causes it. Many of them can give you creams to apply to your injuries that will reduce inflammation, give you plans for heating and icing injured areas to deal with inflammation, or help you find a painkiller that will work for you. While the goal of physical therapy is usually to keep you off painkillers or minimize your use of them, most physical therapists know which painkillers tend to work best for which injuries and can help you get the prescriptions you need when you’re hurting quite a bit.
Physical therapists can also help you stretch and elongate your muscles. These stretches are not the traditional physical therapy exercises. In fact, your physical therapist may implement some passive stretching. This is where you lie relaxed, and your therapist stretches your muscles for you. This can help lengthen and elongate muscles that may not be effectively targeted by the active stretching that you can do on your own.
Physical therapists can also help you regain strength. Sometimes this involves work with light weights, or even heavier ones. Other times your physical therapist may simply have you work with the weight of your own body. Things like squats, lunges, push-ups, and even pull-ups, can help you get quite a bit stronger.
Many people don’t realize that physical therapy can also help with balance and coordination issues. Some people have struggled with these all of their lives, never knowing that this popular way of treatment could help them live better. Physical therapists can give you exercises for eye/hand coordination and more. All you have to do is ask!
Finally, physical therapists can help you to reach your own, special, particular goals. If you would like to run a marathon but your hips always hurt when you run more than 10 miles, your physical therapist can help you figure out why this happens and what you need to do to help your body do what you want it to do without pain. If you want to lift 300 pounds, your therapist can help there, too.
If you are in pain and you don’t know what else to do, consider physical therapy. Whether you need post op rehabilitation or TMJ treatment or motor vehicle accident injury rehab, your local physical therapist can help you feel better.