The purpose of physical therapy is to help patients regain their strength, balance, coordination, muscle control, and ability to function as close to normal as possible in their daily lives. In this article, we’ll look at common reasons for physical therapy and how it can help to help you understand who can benefit from physical therapy and how it works.
What Is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy has many purposes and usually takes place after some testing and a recommendation from a doctor. Physical therapy can help lots of people for different reasons. So, let’s look at the many reasons why someone may need physical therapy.
Some people experience the frustration of chronic pain, often with no solid diagnosis as to what causes it. Physical therapy uses methods to improve soft tissue and joint movement, which often helps alleviate pain completely or, at the least, manage it better. With good results, physical therapy might help a patient avoid using medication to manage pain. People with Arthritis may find physical therapy helpful.
An Alternative to Surgery
Not always, but sometimes an issue that would usually require surgery is instead repaired with physical therapy, avoiding surgery. This alternative needs the doctor’s approval, of course. An example might be a meniscal tear in the knee or a lower back condition. Avoiding surgery saves money, surgery pain, and downtime after surgery.
A physical therapist analyzes each patient to determine if they are prone to certain injuries. This may include practicing balance to prevent falling or strength training to avoid broken bones. Injury prevention is a great way to predict what could happen and then stop it from happening. Elderly patients benefit from this type of therapy as they begin to lose the balance they once had, making them prone to falling. Their bones can become brittle, making them prone to breaks.
Better Balance and Mobility
Physical therapists use certain exercises and equipment to help patients maintain and increase their balance and mobility. Balance and mobility issues cover a wide range of people, including stroke sufferers, cerebral palsy patients, and patients who’ve gone through surgery.
Diabetes and Vascular Management
Exercise is critical for those with diabetes or vascular conditions. Physical therapy is a safe way to exercise properly and improve these conditions, and hopefully, lessen the need for insulin in diabetes patients or heart surgery for vascular patients.
There are many reasons why someone may struggle with daily activities and routines that many of us take for granted. Conditions that can cause daily activity struggles can include autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, stroke, or old age. Physical therapy helps patients gain more freedom in their everyday activities.
Devices Used in Physical Therapy
Physical therapy comes in many forms, and the equipment and devices used help move treatment along. Let’s look at the equipment and how they can help.
Treadmills help the therapist check a patient’s gait and balance, and they’re also the perfect way to get the blood flowing.
Resistance bands are simple but so useful. Therapists use them to improve muscle strength slowly. Each set of bands has its own resistance strength, so increasing the amount of resistance needed is simple, without the need for actual weights.
Exercise balls often aid in stretching and balance practice. They are easy on the joints, and patients can use them at home as well.
Equine therapy, or hippotherapy, is a type of physical therapy that involves the use of a horse or a machine that mimics a horse. Hippotherapy is used to improve balance, gait, and core strength. It also has many other benefits, such as improved emotional health.
A treatment table is similar to a massage table. Its several uses include performing a massage, chiropractic therapy, and other forms of hands-on manipulation to improve the health of physical therapy patients.
The stationary bike is an overall healthy solution for physical therapy patients. It strengthens the cardiovascular system, reduces stress, and increases flexibility and mobility.
These forms of equipment used in physical therapy are the most common, but there are others as well. Physical therapy, like all medical fields, is constantly improving and evolving with exciting new innovations.
Can Physical Therapy Help You or a Loved One?
If you suspect physical therapy might help you or someone you care for, there’s a good chance it will. Still, never start a physical therapy program without your doctor’s approval. As we mentioned, this type of therapy helps a wide range of people, from recently injured to those born with an incurable condition. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about physical therapy and how it can help you or your loved one.
Physical therapy is often in combination with other forms of therapy to achieve the desired result. The following are examples of conditions that might require a combination of therapies because symptoms vary widely in each patient:
- Down syndrome
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy and other autoimmune diseases
Some combinations include speech therapy, hippotherapy, and any other type of physical therapy.
Understanding the common reasons for physical therapy and how it can help is important. We must recognize when we may need it in our own lives. Our bodies have an amazing ability to heal themselves, but they seldom do so without proper assistance, such as physical therapy.
At Chariot Innovations, we understand the many unique needs of those needing therapy. They go beyond physical and often include therapies, such as speech, mental, or emotional support. That’s why we designed the physical therapy device, MiraColt®, to assist those who can benefit from equine therapy but don’t have access to a horse. The MiraColt® offers hippotherapy for patients to use in their homes and for clinics to provide hippotherapy onsite. Contact Chariot Innovations, and let’s talk about how we can improve your therapy methods, whether you’re a therapist yourself or in need of treatment.