Who Needs PT?
By: Paul Bell, PT
The Physical Therapy profession has been a fast growing source of treatment over the past 15-20 years. The aging population and sports activities for all ages have produced extremes of body motion issues that affect millions of people. An active person who goes to the gym regularly may exhibit signs of wear and tear in the form of over-use injuries, caused by repeating the same activities over and over. Even sitting all day at work or at home on a soft chair or sofa can change posture and eventually cause the imbalances that lead to pain issues.
Acute and chronic pain can come from many sources. Most joint pain comes from muscle imbalances that occur in the active person or the sedentary person. It is important to understand the basics of anatomy and how it works. That is where physical therapy comes in. By the time we see the patient, the pain has been a source of discomfort for a period of time. It is our job to evaluate the cause so we can correct the problem. Finding the culprit and addressing the issues of over-use syndromes leading to muscle imbalance are explained so that you are aware of the source. Educating the patient is a huge part of the recovery process, as they become more aware of the cause of their symptoms. Once the cause is determined, a Physical Therapist can help to balance out the chronic use or over-use activity that is perpetuating the condition.
A patient with chronic pain that may eventually need surgery, such as in the case of total joint replacement, could benefit from a few weeks of pre-operative exercises to aid in the recovery immediately following surgery.
The amount of physical therapy visits needed varies patient to patient. Sessions may include a home exercise program. It takes time to reverse the muscle imbalances that have caused a pain problem, but education and daily awareness of how to correct the problem is not very far away.
Ask your Primary Care doctor or Orthopedist if Physical Therapy can help you heal faster and get you back to full pain free functions quickly.