Benefits of Physical Therapy: It will Change Your Life!

word cloud: important benefits of physical therapy

Why is physical therapy important? The simple answer is because it can change lives. For those recovering from sports injuries or surgery, even people suffering from chronic pain, the benefits of physical therapy can be enormous.

More than 3.5 million sports-related injuries occur each year to the 30 million children and teens who participate in organized sports in the US, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Many of these injuries require physical therapy so that the child can heal and eventually return to playing the sports that they love.

The importance of physical therapy is also increasing because roughly 10,000 people turn 65 each day, and many of those people need hip and knee replacements. In fact, more than 300,000 hip replacements and 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States. Every one of those patients needs help getting back on their feet after such a major surgery.

As more and more people choose physical therapy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be a 34% increase in physical therapy jobs between 2014-2024. They rate job prospects to be “particularly good”, and “especially favorable” for physical therapists. For caring people, willing to put in the time and hard work to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy, this is a smart and rewarding career choice.

7 Benefits of Physical Therapy to Consider

But what if you are not an athlete? What if you don’t need to have a joint replaced? What if you are not looking to change careers to become a physical therapist? What can a physical therapist do for you? In honor of National Physical Therapy Month in October, here are 7 ways that physical therapy may benefit you:

  1. Increased Mobility – Physical therapists are body movement experts. If you have pain or any condition that limits the ability to do what you love – whether that is walking your dog or participating in the next CrossFit games, a physical therapist can help. They will assess your abilities and your goals and develop a plan to help you regain mobility. The American Physical Therapy Association highlights increased mobility as one of the greatest benefits of visiting a physical therapist.
  2. Avoid Opioid Pain Medication – It is becoming clear that pain medications are highly addictive and often overused. If you are trying to avoid pain medication, or reduce your pain medication use, physical therapy can help. Your therapist can determine what is causing the pain and manipulate the area with massage, ultrasound or electric stimulation. Stretching and strength training regimens can be customized, so that you can improve your quality of life and reduce or eliminate the need for opioid pain medication.
  3. Avoid Surgery – “If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” While surgery may seem like a drastic step to treating back pain or other chronic conditions, a trip to a surgeon will often result in a recommendation for surgery! Physical therapists are trained to see things differently. Because of this, a trip to a physical therapist first may provide you with a simpler and less invasive solution for treating your back pain, arthritis or other chronic condition.
  4. Prevent Injuries – One of the most important roles of a physical therapist is not just to help you heal after an injury, but to help prevent injury or re-injury by teaching you proper stretching and strengthening exercises. If you are experiencing pain or weakness in a joint or have had a serious accident or injury in the past, you may be able to avoid future problems by visiting a physical therapist now.
  5. Increase Balance and Reduce Fall Risk – After a serious accident or stroke, or period of prolonged bed rest, you may find that your balance is not what it used to be. Damage in the inner ear may cause vertigo or unsteadiness on your feet. Physical therapy can provide you with the tools to regain balance and reduce your risk of injuring yourself due to a fall.
  6. Reduce Pain – Chronic pain can limit your quality of life. If you feel as if you are no longer able to enjoy certain activities because of the severity of your pain, a physical therapist will be able to offer proven methods to reduce pain and help you get back into a more active lifestyle. Moist heat or cryotherapy, soft tissue mobilization, and dry needling therapy are techniques that are offered by physical therapists to decrease pain and inflammation and promote healing without the need for medication or surgery.
  7. Restore Confidence – The tools and methods of physical therapy may sound complicated, but one of the simplest benefits of spending one-on-one time with a physical therapist is that it will help you regain confidence. Physical therapy can help you regain confidence in your ability to move without pain, restore confidence in your balance or restore confidence that you will have the stamina to accomplish what you set out to do. Physical therapy may be focused on manipulating your body in order to achieve results, but as your body changes and you see progress, your confidence will be restored in your own abilities.

Athletes, doctors and post-surgery patients are most familiar with the benefits of physical therapy. Physical therapy is important because it helps athletes get back on the field. After a knee or hip replacement, the only way to get moving again is with the help of a physical therapist. Doctors routinely refer patients to see physical therapists for everything from “frozen shoulder” to plantar fasciitis because doctors know what physical therapy can do for you.

National Physical Therapy Month is about making these benefits accessible to everyone. We can all benefit from increased mobility, reduced pain, and improved confidence. Vigor Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation is inviting you to celebrate with us. We know that physical therapy is important and would love to show you how it can benefit you – contact us today!