Eight Benefits of Physical Therapy You May Not Know About
There are eight benefits of physical therapy that you might not know about. I’ll dive into each one of these benefits separately, however the first three benefits play together to really help you improve function. Those three benefits are: help decrease your pain, increase your mobility, and increase your strength.
In my PT practice, I want to get you back to doing the things that are important to you by providing all eight of these benefits and many more.
1. Decreasing Pain with Physical Therapy
The biggest complaint most of our patients have is that they’re having pain in some part of their body, or maybe multiple areas. The biggest thing that we see is people wait too long. If you feel a tweak or a twinge or have some pain, I tell all of my patients, “If it’s lasting more than a week and not getting better, I do want you to get a medical professional to help you get on the track to recovery.” We want things to be headed in the right direction.
The longer you have pain, you begin to compensate. Our bodies do funny things. They make adaptive changes, and those changes make it harder for us to treat in the long run
So I can have somebody who comes in and they tell me, “Oh, my back pain started 10 years ago, but I want to be better for this trip next month.” I’m going to tell them, “That’s going to be a hard battle for the both of us.” I’d rather have you catch pain right away, maybe come in for just a couple sessions right away and we get you back on track sooner.
2. Increasing Mobility
The second benefit of physical therapy is increasing mobility. A lot of times we realize that maybe our shoulders, spine, knee or other part of our body—it might not be moving as well as it used to. The range of motion is more limited.
Sometimes this comes on insidiously. We have no idea what the cause was. And other times, maybe you had a fall or something like that and you realize, “Oh, it got swollen, it got stiff, and now my range of motion is limited.” Helping you get back your range of motion is first and foremost.
In all of my years of experience, limited range of motion is sometimes the hardest thing to get back if we don’t start PT right away. Scar tissue can set in, we can get joint contractures, muscles adaptively shorten, or you can even get things like frozen shoulder. So we definitely want to get your range of motion going, and again, that can be done in our clinic. Our physical therapist can help move your joints and your body around in the right ways to increase your range of motion. We’re also going to give you those stretches and exercises for you to work on at home so you can maintain your improvement.
3. Increasing Strength
The next benefit of physical therapy is increasing strength. This can be before or after a surgery or after injuries. Regarding physical therapy before surgeries, I want to make sure you know that you need to give that some time. We know on a tissue standpoint it takes six to eight weeks for muscles to get stronger on a cellular level.
If you come in telling me that, “I have a hip replacement surgery next week,” and you want to start physical therapy, unfortunately that’s not going to be enough time to get you to where you want to be. One thing we do know is that being as strong as you can be going into surgery will make your postoperative recovery much faster.
4. Preventing Surgeries
Generally, physical therapy can help you prevent surgeries. Sometimes, if we catch things early, we can fix that alignment. We can get you strong. We can take those pressures off whatever tissues are irritated that could wear out over time and become torn. When we can prevent surgeries, obviously that’s what we all want.
Non-operative intervention saves you money, saves you time off work and allows you to still function well with your family. Let’s all work together and try to prevent those surgeries.
5. Decreasing Medical Expenses
Another benefit of physical therapy is decreasing medical expenses. In today’s medically-oriented world, people often are rushed into x-rays, MRIs, and sometimes surgeries. What we want to do here is help people get back to normal naturally without those unnecessary injections, medications and surgeries.
There’s always going to be a place for those procedures. We can help you determine when it is time to follow up with a physician and get into those procedures or surgeries. But we want to start as conservatively as possible.
6. Decreasing the Risk of Falling/Improving Balance
Another benefit of physical therapy is decreasing the risk of falls and improving balance. Still to this day, one of the most dangerous things about falling is hip fractures and hospitalizations. These dangers don’t just affect our elderly.
Specifically, hip fractures are a major concern and can certainly impede your function and independence. When you come into physical therapy, we will check your balance. We’ll give you some exercises and activities that you can practice at home to make sure you can remain independent.
7. Improving Pelvic Pain and Weakness
One of the other benefits of physical therapy is improving pelvic pain, weakness, or incontinence. A lot of people don’t realize that physical therapy can help with these problems. Our pelvic floor is made up of muscles and physical therapists work with muscles.
A lot of people might report these symptoms, and although it might be common, it’s not normal. I know a lot of mothers who say, “Oh yeah, I’ve been leaking since I had my babies. That’s just how it is when you have a baby.” Actually, it’s not. We can help you get back on track and avoid some of those embarrassing situations.
8. Decreasing Injury Risk
The last benefit of physical therapy is decreasing injury risk. We help with sports performance by enabling you to perform at your peak. In our practice, we have weekend warriors plus high school and collegiate athletes. We have professional athletes. Again, no matter what level you’re competing at, that is an activity that’s important to you, and it’s obviously going to make you happy to be able to be your best.
This is an area where we actually like to see people before the problems show up. We want to make sure you’re strong enough, fast enough, and moving correctly to be as efficient as possible so as to prevent injuries altogether.
We’re Here to Help You!
Those are the many benefits of physical therapy. We’re here to provide those benefits. At Lafayette Physical Therapy and Bay Area Physical Therapy, our goal is to help you get back to normal naturally, without unnecessary medications and surgeries. We can achieve that goal by providing all these benefits and more.
Please call our front desk for a complimentary consultation or to set up your evaluation today. Call us at (925) 284-3840 today!
Lauren Masi is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, board-certified clinical specialist and certified athletic trainer. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physiological science from UCLA, a master’s degree in physical therapy from CSU Northridge, and a doctorate from the University of St. Augustine. As owner of Lafayette Physical Therapy and Bay Area Physical Therapy, she has assembled a skilled team to provide highly personalized and effective care. Lauren’s extensive career encompasses expertise in various physical therapy techniques, including Mulligan and Paris methods, myofascial release, and spinal mobilization. Lauren enjoys horseback riding and family time when not treating patients.