Unless you or someone you know has done physical therapy, you may not be familiar with how it works or whether you should seek treatment or not. The truth is, anyone can benefit from it. Below, we answer why physical therapy may be beneficial for you and provide insight and answers to the most common questions people have surrounding physical therapy.
Do I have to be injured to receive physical therapy? A common misconception is that you can only receive physical therapy if you have suffered a serious injury, such as from a car accident or a sports injury, or require intense rehabilitation. The goal of physical therapy is to improve your range of motion, increase your function and alleviate your pain. That goes for anyone and everyone so you do not need to have a serious injury to do physical therapy. There are many scenarios for why you would need physical therapy treatment: you may need help improving your movement, have limited mobility and function from an injury, or are training for a sports activity such as a marathon.
While we do offer sports medicine and treat athletes, the majority of our patients work typical 9-to-5 desk jobs and sit in front of a computer all day. Our patients usually complain of aches and pains associated with poor ergonomics such as neck and shoulder tension and back pain. Physical therapy is very helpful in alleviating those aches and can help you strengthen your upper and lower back to improve your posture and keep those pains at bay. As long as you have pain or an area that you want to strengthen to get it moving and functioning better than before, you would be a good candidate for physical therapy treatment.
Physical Therapy Isn’t Just About Rehabilitation. If your mobility isn’t the same as before or you feel as though your function is limited, physical therapy will help you increase your flexibility and improve your function. It can also be effective in the prevention of injuries. For example, if you’re running a marathon, our physical therapists will help you train properly and create a regimen to minimize the risk of injury. Running can place a lot of wear and tear on the body, especially during extended distances, so it is important that you learn how to run without hurting yourself. Our physical therapists can assess the way you run and modify your technique accordingly. For example, if you land hard, it will place a lot of pressure on your joints and structure. You can also prevent injuries by increasing your distance moderately and refraining from pushing yourself too hard.
Do I need a physician’s referral or prescription to receive physical therapy treatment?
We have an on-site medical doctor who can prescribe physical therapy treatment. They specialize in physiatry, which is the study of the conditions affecting the muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and bones. They can treat musculoskeletal issues and help you alleviate your pain and improve your movement.
Physical therapy is going to hurt. You may be in pain initially when you first come in but our goal is to help you alleviate your aches and move better. As you learn the exercises and progress, you will slowly gain strength and motion. As you push yourself under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist, you may experience some slight discomfort during your regimen (especially at the beginning). That just means you are reaching your boundaries and that you’re one step closer to a better you. Our physical therapists will work with you to slowly get you up and running better than before. They will also perform tests to further assess your condition and progress so that they can adjust accordingly and ensure that you are making headway.
I can receive physical therapy from anywhere. In New York state, physical therapists are now required to receive a doctorate’s degree. If the physical therapist you’re working with does have their doctorates, this means your care could potentially be under the care of multiple doctors – one who prescribes and one who executes the treatment plan. Also, you can see physical therapists who work under the guidance of a physiatrist, a specialty medical doctor that treats musculoskeletal conditions including your muscles, ligaments, nerves, tendons and bones. While there is an abundance of practices you can receive treatment from, our office offers a holistic approach and our team of experts work synergistically to alleviate your pains and improve your movement and function.
I can do physical therapy on my own. While it is true that you should continue to do the exercises prescribed by our specialists at home, you should be under the supervision of a physical therapist and doctor. This way your progress can be tracked and we can tweak and adjust your routine accordingly. You also don’t want to cause more harm to yourself and sustain any injuries by pushing yourself too hard or stretching incorrectly. If you’re doing physical therapy to rehab any injuries, this is especially important. It can be easy to overextend yourself and you do not want to push yourself past your boundaries and cause further injuries.
If I have an injury, do I have to do physical therapy? The goal is to help you restore and improve your function. If your injury has left you feeling inhibited and restricted in your movement, then physical therapy would be an effective treatment option. Post-surgery and post-injury rehabilitation comprises a smaller fraction of those going through physical therapy than you may think.
Will I need physical therapy again in the future? It is important that you complete your physical therapy treatment to successfully treat your pain and discomforts and help you improve your motion. If you don’t, your progress will regress. Physical therapy is like going to the gym – you can go a couple times but it will not bring you the results or progress that you are expecting. You will need to go regularly and consistently until you are feeling better and have regained full functionality and movement. Afterwards, it is all about maintenance. If you do your exercises at home, it will help you reach your goals much faster.
Don’t let pain get in the way of your day-to-day. Live your life on your own terms the life you had pre-injury and with no limitations. Give our office a call at 867-1111 to see how physical therapy can help you today.