Physical therapy is often the first line of treatment for many injuries. Physical therapy is usually preferred because it is non invasive, affordable, and has good success rates. Every year, approximately 50% of U.S. adults develop a musculoskeletal injury that persists longer than three months. Fortunately, there are many different types of physical therapy available to treat these injuries.
Strengthening physical therapy exercises
One of the most common types of physical therapy is to strengthen the injured area and its surrounding muscles and ligaments. Up to 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. Back pain can affect your ability to sleep, work, or exercise. Patients that undergo surgery often have poor results and are left dealing with chronic physical pain for years to come. Physical therapy, however, works on strengthening the injured part of the back to prevent is from getting worse. If the injured part still needs time to heal, then strengthening the surrounding muscles gives it more time to fully heal.
Physical therapy for diagnosis
One of the problems with low back pain is that it can be very difficult to diagnose. Even with imaging, it can be impossible to pinpoint the exact location of the cause of the pain. However, with physical therapy, the therapist can do a series of exercises, ultimately narrowing down the pain possibilities. Eventually, they can help to identify the exact area of the pain and then cater a physical therapy treatment routine to that injury.
Osteoarthritis usually sets in after an injury does not properly heal. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the number one most common form of arthritis. Sometimes it is referred to as a degenerative joint disease or wear and tear arthritis. This medical condition most frequently occurs in the hips, knees, and hands, but can also occur in other parts of the body that were recently injured. When pain is caused by OA, it becomes especially difficult to diagnose. This is when a trained physical therapist becomes so useful.
Low impact physical therapy
Many people write off physical therapy as exercise. This is not the case, however. While there are some types of physical therapy that are similar to exercise, the majority of them are not. If you find exercise to be difficult because of an injury or chronic pain condition, working with a physical therapist can do wonders. If you find hip exercises, for example, to be painful, it might be that you require a less impactful hip exercise. Water, or pool therapy, is a great option for those with arthritis or joint problems. The body is especially buoyant in the water, taking off extra pressure on the joints.
Sports training physical therapy
Some chronic pain injuries are caused by sports injuries. When an injury occurs in a sport, the individual is usually aiming to get better to reduce pain and to return to the sport. This is a special type of physical therapy, as the athlete intends to fully use the injured area again. In some cases, it might even be a rushed treatment process. Physical therapists can help athletes by improving the injured area, strengthening the surrounding areas, and most importantly, finding the cause of the initial injury. Multiple injuries to the same area can cut a sporting career short. If the therapist is able to pinpoint the cause of the injury, they can reduce the chances of occurring again.
When most people think of physical therapy, they think of exercise. While some types of physical therapy do include exercise, not all do. The specific type of physical therapy that is right for you will depend on many factors including your type of injury, how the injury occurred, and your current medical condition. Either way, physical therapy is an extremely effective tool in increasing healing time and reducing the chance of a reinjury.