Physical therapy is a rehabilitation treatment that aims to ease pain, restore function and movement. Physical therapists are licensed professionals who work with patients to achieve long term health benefits. People seek help of a physical therapist when they have pain in joints or muscles, after joint replacement surgery, car accident or stroke.
Physical therapy helps to reduce or completely eliminate pain in muscles, joints and spine. Pain may be due to arthritis, trigger points, trauma or surgery. Physical therapists use a conservative approach to treating pain through the use of TENS unit, heating pad or ice, ultrasound or laser. Massage or soft tissue mobilization can be applied as well to alleviate tension in muscles and soft tissue. Teaching patients on how to change their lifestyle will help to further decrease pain.
A Non-Invasive Approach
Physical therapy is a great alternative to medications and invasive surgeries. Physical therapists use non- invasive approach to treating musculoskeletal conditions, decreasing pain, increasing mobility and restoring function. A non-invasive approach involves fewer risks and complications and faster recovery time. It is less stressful and gentler on the body. A non-invasive approach allows patients to minimize the time lost from work, as well as lower medical costs.
When surgery is unavoidable, physical therapy rehabilitation becomes an integral part of a patient’s recovery process. Physical therapists work with patients after a knee or hip replacement, neck or lower back surgery. The rehabilitation program focuses on restoring mobility and stability through specific exercises. Patients are educated on how to use cane, crutches or other assistive devices. Physical therapists help speed up recovery and achieve post-surgery goals faster.
Physical therapists help patients recover after stroke in many ways. The initial step takes place in the hospital and then transitions to a sub-acute short term care. Later on, when patients feel stronger and more stable, they continue their rehabilitation recovery in an outpatient facility. The extent of function loss after stroke varies from patient to patient, ranging from mild muscle weakness and/or paralysis to complete loss of function. Patients learn how to get up from chair, walk, balance, reach up and navigate their home environment. The complete recovery after stroke is possible in those cases when brain damage is minimal.
Post- Sports Injury Rehabilitation
Athletes are prone to injuries due to increased demands on the body. Sports injuries are commonly related to bones, joints, muscles and tendons. A sports injury goes through stages: acute, sub-acute and chronic. Physical therapy treatment will focus on different aspects of the injury, depending on its stage. For example, during acute stage, the focus is on decreasing pain and swelling. During sub-acute stage, the focus is to introduce exercises to strengthen muscles. In the final stages of recovery, patients complete drills and exercises related to their sport. Physical therapy helps athletes to avoid surgery and return them to sports faster.
Patients with diabetes experience pain and numbness in their extremities, particularly in the feet. Because of decreased feeling in their feet, they show decreased mobility and stability. They may be prone to falls. They may avoid going outside due to fear of falling. Physical therapy treatments focus on strengthening muscles to allow patients to be more stable and avoid falls in the future. Regular exercise routine helps to maintain a healthy weight and improve glucose uptake by the cells. Gentle massage and warm paraffin baths to feet help to improve circulation and decrease pain due to nerve damage.
A number of chronic debilitating conditions such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS) affect nervous system and cause gradual muscle weakness, loss of mobility and stability. Most importantly, patients may lose their independence. Physical therapy helps to regain muscle strength, balance and mobility. Patients benefit from functional training, which includes transfers from bed and chair, gait and stair training. Physical therapists teach patients on how to use a walker or a cane to improve stability, avoid falls and be as independent as possible. Some home changes may be advised to accommodate for lost function.
Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis are some of the most common age-related musculoskeletal conditions treated by physical therapists. The conditions cause joint pain, neck and lower back pain and loss of joint movement. From managing pain to working on muscle strength, endurance and balance, physical therapy is a great solution to chronic musculoskeletal conditions. When needed, a physical therapist will advise to wear a brace or walk with a cane or walker. Early treatment is the key to recovery and a healthy lifestyle. At Excel Physical Therapy, we understand your pain. We have the necessary expertise and equipment to help you heal. For any questions or further information, please contact our expert physical therapists at 718-301-6363 to schedule a consultation today.