Have You Ever Visited a Physical Therapist?


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Is it any surprise that so many people want to go into the field of physical therapy? With many young athletes completing repetitive drills during 15 to 20 hours of practice a week, younger and younger patients are finding themselves with prescriptions for physical therapy appointments to repair and rehabilitate injured muscles and joints. in addition to serving the youngest athletes, physical therapy is also a source of rehabilitation for adults attempting to rebound after surgeries of all kind. The top doctors include physical therapy options for patients who need to recover from accidents, surgery, or injury.
Consider the following example of two patients, one who received physical therapy, one who did not. Patient A is a high school gymnast who badly sprained her ankle when she fell of the balance beam. Rather than waste time and money on an expensive emergency room visit, Patient A was able to call her primary care physician. After a quick office visit, the physician gave Patient A a prescription for one month of physical therapy appointments. Patient A followed her doctor’s advice and began visiting her physical therapist twice a week. T he first two weeks of appointments included an appropriate mix of heat and ice baths that quickly got the swelling under control. The next two weeks of therapy included a series of strengthening exercises for both ankles. To promote further healing, Patient A also received a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) treatment twice a week at her therapy appointment. This machine is predominately used for nerve related pain conditions, both acute and chronic conditions. TENS machines work by sending stimulating pulses across the surface of the skin and along the nerve strands. Patient A saw reduced swelling and was able to return to full work outs after four weeks. The ankle strengthening exercises are now a part of her daily workouts.
Patient B also had a sprained ankle caused by slipping of a cement curb during an afternoon run. Fearing that she had broken something, Patient B went to the emergency room for an xray. In spite of the initial swelling, the doctor at the emergency room prescribed an xray and was able to determine that the ankle was only sprained, nothing torn, nothing broken. Patient B went home with instructions to stay off the ankle and use ice to bring down the swelling. Although the ER doctor suggested that Patient B follow up with a visit to her physician and see about the need for physical therapy, this patient decided she could rehabilitate herself. She had been an athlete for years and she knew what kinds of exercises would get her back running. Unfortunately, Patient B was still dealing with the pain from her ankle nearly two months later and was unable to get in a full run.
these two hypothetical patients have very realistic injuries. In fact, reports estimate that 25,000 Americans suffer from an ankle sprain every day. Furthermore, it is estimated that 12 million individuals between the ages of 5 and 22 years suffer a sports-related injury at least once a year, leading to 20 million lost days of school. In fact, sports-related injuries make up $33 billion in health care costs annually. Physical therapists can provide everyone, young and old, athlete and non-athlete, with a quicker road to recovery.

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