|Why everyone should see a physical therapist at least twice a year.
When most people think of physical therapy they probably imagine people recovering from injuries, surgeries, or medical conditions like a stroke. While this is not wrong, it is only half of the picture. Physical therapists are experts in understanding how the musculoskeletal system works and have a unique set of skills that help to improve this system and other related areas of the human body. This allows physical therapist to help people with rehabilitation of the human body but also prevention. The field of physical therapy is broad and ranges from babies to great grandparents and professional athletes to power walkers. This means that physical therapy is not just for those that are injured or in pain. Physical therapy is for everybody. Below is a list of 5 reasons why everyone should see a physical therapist at least twice a year.
- Preventative Care – As a physical therapist I can’t tell you how many times I see a patient that I wish would have come to see me 10 to 20 years sooner. By the time I see them, their posture is so bad and their muscles are so weak that they have now developed severe neck pain and they can’t even tolerate doing laundry or cooking a meal. The worst part is that the patient is only 55 years old. This type of patient can still benefit from physical therapy but their ability for progress is limited. If this patient would have seen a physical therapist 20 years sooner and was taught how to maintain good posture and good functional strength, all of this could have been prevented. Even if you are not having any pain, a physical therapist will be able to recognize where something my become a problem down the road. The physical therapist can then decide if you need physical therapy or will be able to manage this on your own with occasional follow up appointments. Something that simple can prevent a lifetime of pain, addicting medications, and expensive surgeries.
- Avoid Medications/Surgery - Physical therapy focuses on fixing the problem not just covering up the symptoms. All pain medications and injections do is mask symptoms. Some physical therapy treatment is also used to manage symptoms but what separates physical therapy is that the overall treatment is focusing on fixing the problem. We improve how your body functions by improving your strength, mobility, and activity modification. If you have low back pain due to poor core muscle strength then the only thing that will fix the problem is improving your core strength. No pill, injection, brace, or surgery is going to do that and a physical therapist is one of the only health care professionals who are qualified and are willing to work with you to fix it. There is a place for medication and surgery for musculoskeletal problems but they should never be the first option.
- Wellness - Physical therapy is not meant to be a life long ordeal. For typical patients, therapy should be about 8-12 weeks. This gives a patient plenty of time to work with the therapist and get on the right track. After therapy is over the patient then has to take what the therapist taught them and continue with it on their own at their house or a gym. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to keep up with this and a lot of patient will end up in the same position they were before starting therapy. This is why a lot of therapy clinics offer wellness. Wellness programs allow former patients to use the clinic like a gym so they can continue with their programs with the support of the therapy staff. Wellness can also be used as preventative care. People that aren’t in need of physical therapy can use a wellness program to keep their bodies in good condition and avoid ever needing therapy. A physical therapist can decide what is best for you and set you up for success.
- Performance Enhancement - Sports is an area of expertise for physical therapist. Not just for recovering from injury but also improving performance. A physical therapist can look at how an athlete moves and through corrective exercises, make improvements. This will not only help someone be better at their sport but also prevent injuries. This applies to all those who participate in sport or higher-level activity. One of the biggest populations that can benefit from this is those that work out on a regular basis. A physical therapist can make easy adjustments to your lifting technique to make sure you will be getting the most out of your work out and avoid injuries.
- Easily Accessible – Physical therapists are easy to reach. You can go see one without a doctor’s referral and it doesn’t take weeks to get on the schedule. Physical therapist pride themselves on the amount of quality time they spend with their patients. Unlike most other health care providers, a physical therapist will sit down with you, get to know you, and will come up with a plan that works for you. Whether you need physical therapy, preventative care, or just need tips on how to improve your activity, a physical therapist is available to help you. Physical therapists are trained to recognize when something is beyond our care and will get you to the right person if needed.
Even if you don’t have any pain or limitations go see a physical therapist. People see a dentist twice a year to take care of their teeth. Who is taking care of your body?
About the author: Mason Porter Mason Porter is a Doctor of Physical Therapy at the Hammond Office of Jones Physical Therapy. He performs evaluations on new patients to create a plan of care that will address a patient’s pain and dysfunction so they can get back to living their lives. Mason received his Bachelor of Kinesiology from Southeastern Louisiana University while also playing football for the Lions football team. He earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Missouri State University in 2016 along with his wife, Jenny. Mason enjoys working with all patient populations with special interests in orthopedics and sports medicine. Mason is currently working towards his manual therapy certification through the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy.
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