Physical Therapy: It’s for more than just athletes

That shooting pain in your lower back or knee hasn’t gone away like you thought it would. Maybe that accident the other day was worse than you originally assumed. You dread the potential diagnosis and treatments but you go to the doctor anyway. To your surprise, the doctor decides your injuries are not as bad as they feel and you just need physical therapy to help your body heal. Isn’t physical therapy for athletes and the elderly? Not at all! In 2014, 11.7 million adults took advantage of physical therapy services. The Department of Labor also recorded a 28% growth in physical therapist employment since 2016, which is much faster than the average.

So what is physical therapy?

If you are injured or develop a condition that limits your joint flexibility and mobility, you may need physical therapy to help you regain your fitness and relieve pain.  While your instincts tell you to rest, too much stagnation can result in loss of function, muscle stiffness, and blood clots. These sessions can also be used to teach a patient how to use crutches, a walker, or even a new prosthetic. Physical therapy can also help patients regain their strength after lengthy hospital stays, heart attacks, or strokes.

How do they do it?

There are many forms of physical therapy but it always starts with a licensed physical therapist assessing your mobility, balance, and strength before creating a customized treatment plan. Your plan will be developed based on your needs and can range from a set of simple stretches to a grueling workout. Some of the tools used by physical therapists include:

  • Massage- This can help relieve muscle and tendon tension that causes stiffness and even spasms.
  • Hot and cold packs- Cold packs help reduce swelling while hot packs increase circulation that aids the healing process.
  • Continuous Passive-Motion Machines- These machines help work your joints even when you cannot or should not use your muscles to move them.
  • Ultrasound Therapy- Usually used in conjunction with heat therapy, ultrasounds can be used to deliver heat deep into your body.
  • Water Therapy- Exercising in warm water reduces stress on joints allowing you to work on improving your flexibility and strength.
  • Traditional Gym Equipment- Weights, resistance bands, medicine balls, and balance balls are all tools physical therapists will use to help improve your physical fitness.

Only at Physical Therapy

In addition to helping you heal after an injury, physical therapists can assess and analyze your health and body using methods that are different than most other medical practitioners. A physical therapist goes through many years of training in fields such as biology, physiology, anatomy, exercise science, and musculoskeletal studies. This makes them uniquely qualified to assess your injury risk, develop the best type of workout for you, help correct posture and alignment issues, and help speed up your recovery. The best part is most insurance carriers cover physical therapy sessions, keeping you from having to overwork your wallet or HSA.

If your company is looking for benefit education, financial literacy, or help navigating ACA regulations, call a benefits consultant today.