If you’re among the millions of Americans who experience back or neck pain each year, you may have considered making an appointment at your local physical therapy office. But contrary to popular belief, physical therapy exercises aren’t beneficial only to those who experience constant and debilitating pain. In fact, physical therapy appointments can be immensely helpful for just about anyone.
But if you aren’t experiencing physical discomfort at all times, you might be wondering why you should bother visiting one of the 200,000 physical therapists employed nationwide. It might surprise you to learn that ongoing appointments can improve your quality of life in ways you’d never have imagined. Let’s look at just five unexpected ways in which physical therapy exercises can promote better health and wellness overall.
- Physical therapists can help you avoid surgery or prescription medication use: A lot of people think of physical therapy exercises as a necessity after a surgical procedure is performed. But while physical therapy does serve an important purpose in those situations, it’s also true that these appointments can actually allow you to avoid surgery in the first place. A number of conditions — such as spinal stenosis, meniscal tears, and degenerative disk disease — can be treated just as effectively (or sometimes more so) with physical therapy as they can with invasive surgery. In many cases, you can avoid substantial risk and save money by pursuing physical therapy first. Your physical therapy treatments can also eliminate the need for prescription medications like opioids. Not only can this save you money, but it can significantly reduce the risk of substance abuse and addiction during the midst of a national drug crisis.
- Physical therapy exercises can assist in cognitive recovery: When you hear the term “physical therapy,” you probably think of improving range of motion or recovering from a bodily injury. But physical therapy exercises can actually improve the mind, as well. After a traumatic brain injury or a stroke, the brain may have trouble communicating with the body — making even simple daily tasks seem impossibly hard. Fortunately, physical therapy treatment can often help to retrain the mind and improve function in damaged motor pathways. Relearning how to perform physical tasks will help to rebuild the connections between your body and your brain over time.
- Physical therapy treatment can minimize balance issues and vertigo: If you’ve recently had a fall or you’re experiencing issues with your balance, it might be worth making an appointment with a physical therapist as part of your recovery. Not only can your physical therapist help you become physically stronger, but they can also assist you in balance and coordination improvements. Even those who have vertigo can see massive improvements with help from a physical therapist. If you’ve been dealing with dizziness or you’re concerned about falling at home as you age, talk to your physical therapy office to find out how regular sessions might help.
- Physical therapy sessions may improve your respiratory function: Did you know that your breathing might actually be improved by attending physical therapy? If you have a chronic lung disease or you have ongoing respiratory issues, your physical therapist might be able to work with you to improve your condition. Your physical therapist can help clear your lungs, build muscle, and adjust your breathing patterns for optimal results.
- Physical therapy can reduce the likelihood of injuries: It’s common to partake in a physical therapy exercise after an injury. But physical therapy can also prevent injuries from occurring in the first place. Whether you’re an all-star athlete or you want to learn the best way to lift heavy boxes and furniture, a physical therapist can teach you injury prevention techniques so you can stay safe. Even if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you can improve your posture and prevent overuse injuries when sitting at a desk. Ultimately, that’ll save you time, money, frustration, and discomfort.
Now that you know how a physical therapist can help you in virtually every aspect of life, it makes sense to schedule an appointment to address your concerns. For additional information, please contact our offices today.
Author: Dr. Steven Balogh is a doctor of physical therapy and owner of B Physical therapy. He has helped hundreds of patients regain their life by becoming pain free using the B Physical Way. Learn more about Steven and his mission.