Melissa Scheck, M.P.T.
Physical Therapists Help Active People Live Better
Updated: Apr 24
Physical therapy has a lot of benefits for active people. Athletes, performers, weekend warriors, avid gardeners, walkers, gym rats, and people who work in physically demanding jobs can all benefit from the expertise of a physical therapist. Here are various ways physical therapists help active people stay that way.
Active people tend to get hurt. Physical therapists have the knowledge and skills to help people recover from injuries faster. In addition to helping people recover, physical therapists will look for the root cause of the injury, and address that as well, to help keep the injury from coming back. If the injury is severe and requires surgery, a physical therapist will guide the recovery and make sure the person gets back to their activity. But in some cases, a physical therapist can help an injured person avoid surgery in the first place.
Physical therapy became prevalent in the early 1900s to help people recover from polio and rehabilitate soldiers wounded in the First World War. It has been a conservative treatment option for many years. Studies have shown that physical therapy can be as effective as surgery for various conditions, including spinal stenosis, meniscal tears, knee arthritis, and degenerative disc.
Ironically, while the research has shown the effectiveness in physical therapy, the Journal of General Internal Medicine reported a
">50% decrease in referrals to physical therapy from 2003-2014."
The number of patients we see who were never referred to, or even suggested to try, physical therapy prior to surgery continues to increase. Often patients are referred directly to a surgeon when their pain was not responsive to medication. It is also common for physicians to give the patient a list of exercises to try at home, but with insufficient guidance. Frequently, the exercises physicians have in their repertoire are no longer considered the best practices for rehabilitation. Physical therapists are trained to give you appropriate, up-to-date exercises. More importantly, they train you to perform them the right way.
Pain that is out of the blue, without a known cause like a fall, will usually respond well to physical therapy, but unfortunately, these cases are often referred directly to a surgeon, because the results of an x-ray or MRI showed tearing, bulging, or degeneration. A physical therapist will evaluate the patient's deficits in movement, strength, and mobility, and create a plan to correct these deficits. Physical therapy often allow patients to regain the ability to perform tasks and participate in their regular activities without pain, even though the issues that showed up in their medical tests still remain.
Surgery isn’t the only thing physical therapists can help people avoid. A physical therapist can help with injury prevention too. A thorough assessment of a person’s strength, mobility, balance, and coordination helps to identify issues that could lead to injury. A PT can then design a program to improve the problem areas before a potential injury occurs. A PT can also assess an existing training plan and help to identify areas that may lead to sprains, strains, or over-training. Many injuries are due to poor form or old injuries that seemed minor at the time.
Even minor injuries for high level athletes are treatable conditions. Sometimes all it takes is a few visits of some exercise instructions to make sure you are on your way to safe performance.
In addition to helping people improve areas of weakness, therapists can also help people improve their strength, flexibility, coordination, agility, or speed. Physical therapists are movement experts. They can break down the requirements of a specific physical task like lifting or throwing, then design a training program that will help people meet the demands their activity requires.
Physical Therapy is more than just a way to get back on your feet after an injury - it can also help you stay at the top of your game. Whether you're an athlete, a dancer, or someone who wants to stay in shape, physical therapy can help you reach your performance goals. With the right exercises and treatments, physical therapists can help you improve strength, flexibility, and endurance so that you can perform at your best and lower your risk of injury.
Physical Therapy is your secret weapon. If you have unaddressed pain or weakness, be your own advocate: ask your physician for a referral to physical therapy. Not getting the answer you want from your physician? In the State of Michigan you can legally be seen by a physical therapist without a prescription from a physician for 10 visits within 21 days. Your physical therapist will do a thorough evaluation. If they determine that physical therapy is not the solution to your problem, they’ll let you know, and tell you what your options are. Physical therapy has been proven to be an effective treatment for many conditions. So if you’re ready to walk, run, play a sport, or simply clean your house but pain is limiting you, try physical therapy. Clegg & Guest Physical Therapy is ready to help you be a more active you.
#physicaltherapy #rotatorcuffrepair #lowbacksurgery #meniscustear #sports
What we currently do for sports - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31077961/
Sports injury prevention - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35421834/
Articles and Content
How Can Physical Therapy Help to Avoid Surgery? - Tucson Orthopaedic Institute