3 Things to consider before starting Physical Therapy

Are you having difficulty getting dressed, washing your hair, or performing routine job activities?
Physical therapy should be considered when a person is struggling to accomplish the ordinary tasks of daily living.
Physical therapy addresses sports-related injuries, stiff or ‘frozen’ joints and even neurological injuries from strokes or chronic conditions.
In order to begin a physical therapy treatment plan, there are some considerations that need to be addressed.

Who specializes in treating my condition?
Certain broad specializations are offered within the field of physical therapy. Focusing on one of these specialties is the first step toward proper treatment.

  • Geriatrics is a therapy subset developed for conditions specific to the elderly. Older people may suffer from degenerative diseases that contribute to the need for physical therapy, and may be distressed by pain and depression. These combined symptoms can be addressed through specialized geriatric therapy.
  • Infants and small children respond to illness and injury differently than do adults, and the need to enhance motor skills is often paramount in their treatment. The early intervention of pediatric therapy is a key for child development after injury or severe illness.
  • Orthopedic physical therapy is well-known, and concerns itself with musculoskeletal well-being after injuries, amputations, joint conditions and bone breaks.
  • Neurologic physical therapy is treatment devoted to recovery after neurological injury, such as stroke or vehicular accident. Nervous system impairments often respond very positively to ongoing physical therapy.

Is physical therapy painful?

At some time in life, most of us will experience some joint pain. In time, many will experience lessened joint mobility, even without pain. Professional athletes and dancers can begin this damage and pain cascade much earlier than the rest of us.
If a person is already experiencing pain, physical therapy techniques will be painful at first. Movement will eventually provide pain relief as well, with stretching and stimulation of muscular activity. Controlled activity is vital for restoration of strength, endurance and range of motion.

What are some methods used in physical therapy?
Exercises are chosen to target specific muscle groups and imbalances that might contribute to injury. Exercise is one of the best ways to alleviate chronic aches and pains from poor posture or a sedentary lifestyle.

Ultrasound generates deep heat to loosen stiff muscles in preparation for exercise. A special wand applies sound waves to the skin and tissues below. Ultrasound has been shown to accelerate healing of torn ligaments in lab animals.

Electrical stimulation (ESTIM) is a familiar treatment for traumatic injury. The electrical stimulus provides small but steady muscular contractions, speeding the time of recovery by providing initial muscle movement in injured tissue that may lie dormant or ‘frozen’

Traction sounds a bit aggressive, but it is a proven way of separating compressed vertebrae and creating space for pinched nerves and disc cartilage. This treatment is effective for reducing severe back pain and providing positive impact on daily life for those suffering from herniated lumbar discs. For persons who don’t wish back surgery and its lengthy recovery, traction can be an effective option.

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