Whether you’ve recently undergone surgery or suffered a musculoskeletal injury, physical therapy (PT) may be recommended as part of your recovery plan. There are many people out there who aggressively avoid exercise -- and physical therapy often resembles, you guessed it, exercise.
So what is it about physical therapy that makes it beneficial for recovery, and why should you make it a priority? Here are some ways PT helps you recover.
Your body’s regenerative abilities can be quite remarkable, but sometimes they can work rather slowly. And in some cases, the healing may not be fast enough to stay ahead of further deterioration. Physical therapy techniques can assist and boost the efficiency of natural healing processes. You may be able to avoid the formation of extensive scar tissue, for example, by stimulating blood flow and working on range of motion.
Injury or surgery could temporarily limit the motion of an affected joint, due to damage and inflammation. Physical therapy techniques often aim to restore and rebuild mobility back toward its natural range. Without these treatments and exercises, your range of motion could become permanently impaired as muscles atrophy, losing strength and capability.
Beyond physical therapy exercises, other techniques may provide some element of pain relief. Ultrasound, electrical stimulation, taping, and other treatments can complement movement therapies to reduce the pain you experience during recovery.
If you’ve suffered a sports injury, for example, specific therapeutic efforts can not only ease pain and aid recovery, these can also strengthen muscles around the injured area. This can help fortify the area -- say, an ankle or knee for a tennis hobbyist -- so it’s less susceptible to further damage. You’ll not only return to your sport safely, you can extend your capabilities and add protection against future injury.
Complications from diabetes, for example, can cause nerve problems in your feet and legs. Physical therapy techniques can work, along with insulin and blood sugar management, to ease or prevent further damage to nerves. Physical therapy may also help you with weight loss efforts, an important part of self-care for cardiovascular conditions.
Age-related deterioration from osteoporosis, arthritis, and other conditions may lead to loss of muscle mass, joint motion, and much more. Adding physical therapy can interrupt the progression of some conditions, minimizing the effects these have on your life. When surgery is necessary, such as joint replacement, postsurgical physical therapy gets you back into regular daily living more quickly.
As an interventional pain medicine specialist, Dr. Wu knows the benefits of physical therapy as part of a pain management regimen. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, or if surgery or injury have slowed you down, contact our office for a consultation. You can make an appointment by calling the practice or through the easy-to-use “request appointment” tool on the website.
Left untreated, pain can limit motion, activity, and your ability to function and enjoy everyday life. Contact Dr. Wu today.