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In 2017, health care providers across the US wrote more than 191 million prescriptions for opioid pain medication—a rate of 58.7 prescriptions per 100 people. ( Choosept.com) Although opioids have an appropriate time and place for usage, they in no way contribute to improvement of health or recovery. They only mask pain momentarily. The American Physical Therapy Association designated October as a month to raise awareness of physical therapy as a safe and effective alternative for chronic pain conditions.
Physical therapy (PT) is used for preserving, enhancing or restoring movement and physical function. It can be used for many illnesses, diseases, injuries, and other health related issues. There are many varieties of physical therapy. Physical therapy plans are intended to meet specific individual needs. It’s October again, and in honor of National Physical Therapy Month, I have to ask, have you given physical therapy a try, yet? You may have a significant change in mobility and function due to illness or injury. PT can help you. Maybe you’re still be highly functioning and healthy but you’ve noticed subtle changes: a little stiffness, nagging pain that won’t go away, or you just don’t feel right. PT can help you, too.
What can I expect during my first physical therapy session?
Generally, the first meeting is to evaluate where you are at physically. A physical therapist should review your medical history and ask many questions regarding your health and pain levels. A PT may also have you do some movements to evaluate your range of motion, balance, and strength. This is not the time to be discreet or minimize symptoms. Be specific about what you feel. Ask any questions and share your concerns. Your physical therapist needs to be aware of all the details in order to create a plan that can best suit your needs.
Will it hurt?
Physical therapy isn’t designed to be painful, and it will be safe. You don’t need to worry about added injury if you are following your physical therapist’s guidance. It may be challenging though. You will be using parts of your body that are recovering from injury or have chronic pain. You may experience some soreness after a session. Always communicate with your physical therapist about how you feel during and after a session.
How long will it take?
Physical therapy, over time, will produce positive results. Each patient is different, though, and that means that there is no set guideline for how long it will take to start to see improvements. Soft tissue can take several weeks to a few months to heal. Aging slows down the healing process. Consistency is key to seeing positive results, and a positive attitude is also important. Don’t lose hope if it feels like there is no change. In the day-to-day work you don’t always notice the small degrees of change, but over time you should be able to look back and notice changes, even if they are small. PT is a commitment, and in order to maintain healthy movement, balance and range of motion, it has to be a life-long commitment. In the same way that we need to feed our bodies the right nutrients each day, we also need to practice regular movement and physical exercise in order to maintain the ability to continue to function. Because it probably won’t be achieved overnight, your physical therapist should work with you to create a plan that is enjoyable and doable during a typical day.
We’d love to help guide you down your own personal road to physical therapy. Be well, friends!
DISCLAIMER: This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.