How Physical Therapy Is Key to Healing

Some form of what we now call physical therapy has existed for hundreds of years, with good reason. Physical therapy (PT) can be crucial in total body healing and mobility, as well as part of a rehabilitation plan before and after surgery. PT may be recommended to heal musculoskeletal injuries (with or without surgery) and to treat other medical conditions such as:

  • Fractures
  • Sprains
  • Tendonitis
  • Bursitis
  • Chronic medical problems
  • Rehabilitation or recovery from orthopedic surgery

How Physical Therapy Helps

  • Many people benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapy is used to treat people of all ages, with conditions resulting from sports injuries, injuries from accidents, mobility challenges in the elderly, as well as chronic conditions and developmental challenges in children. Like the name implies, physical therapy is very hands-on, hard work for the patient. Consistency and commitment is key to its success.
  • Physical therapy combines many components in a good plan. This could include any combination of: exercise therapy, manual therapy, wound care and outpatient care. Be sure you talk with your physical therapist and let them know your goals and any frustrations with your progress. They are there to help you and make sure you are getting proper treatment, so they need to know everything you’re going through.
  • Each session of physical therapy is an important extension of surgery and recovery. When followed properly, you can expect a list of positive outcomes. No two physical therapy sessions are alike, but you can generally expect one to last 30–60 minutes from one to many times a week, depending on why and what stage of healing you’re receiving therapy. As you progress well, your visits may change in length and frequency. You'll learn techniques to help continue your healing at home.

Three Successful Physical Therapy Outcomes

  1. Reduced or eliminated pain. Physical therapy involves therapeutic exercises as well as manual therapy techniques such as joint and soft tissue mobilization and treatments.
  2. Avoiding surgery. If physical therapy helps you eliminate pain or heal from an injury, surgery may not be needed. However, even if surgery is your only option, going into a surgery stronger and in better shape could result in faster recovery time.
  3. Increased mobility. Physical therapy helps you learn how to regain your independence, even if that means learning how to walk with temporary assistance, such as with a cane or walker. The goal is to get you moving and work on the best possible outcome for your injury, age and lifestyle.

Just like you and your injury, every physical therapy plan is different. Just remember to be patient and give it the time it needs.

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