If you’ve never been in a situation where you’ve been prescribed physical therapy to help you recover from an injury, medical condition, or medical procedure, then you may have a number of questions regarding how therapy can help. Many people live their lives every day without doing a set of daily stretches, exercises, or other physical routines to stay healthy, so why would anyone need to start doing such things now after an incident? In this article, we will discuss the various elements of physical therapy and the role it can play in your recovery, and hopefully, put some of these questions to rest.
What Is Physical Therapy?
Your body is a network of moving parts that are constantly working together to help you perform its everyday task. The simple act of getting out of bed in the morning and walking out of your room works every muscle, joint, and ligament in your body, and when one of those moving parts stops working the way it is meant to, the entire performance becomes hindered. Physical therapy is a medical practice designed to evaluate your body’s biomechanical functions to identify, and hopefully correct, any of its deficiencies and shortcomings. If you think of your body as a machine, then you can think of doctors and physical therapists as the maintenance crew. Despite popular belief, no human being on Earth has a perfect, full-functioning body. We all experience aches, pains, underworked muscles, overstretched tissue, and stiff joints to one degree or another and we all require some level of routine maintenance. When we add injuries, deformities, and surgeries to the mix, the need for that therapy/maintenance becomes more dire. Physical therapists, often under the direction of your doctor, will devise a care and recovery plan that is specifically catered to your condition, and implement a series of exercises, stretches, and physical routines to help your body recover, and get back to its normal levels of functionality that you experienced prior to any incident that led you here.
Why Do I Need Therapy?
As we mentioned above, physical therapy can be employed to address a number of deficiencies your body is experiencing. For instance, a pediatric physical therapist, one who specializes in the physical care and rehabilitation of children, could be assigned a case where a child is experiencing an abnormal gait due to an uneven length of their legs. Obviously, a doctor or therapist cannot force the bones to grow, or readjust them to a better length, so a therapy plan will need to be designed to help teach that child how to balance and walk safely and live a productive life for as long as this physical ailment stays with them.
However, the most common applications for physical therapy are recovering from injuries and medical procedures like surgery. After an injury or medical procedure takes place, the patient is typically “laid up” or forced into a sedentary, inactive lifestyle while their bodies heal from the initial injury. During this time of inactivity, their muscles get weaker (especially in the injured area), their soft tissue and ligaments do not get stretched, and the joints do not experience their full range of motion. In other words, while one part of the body is healing, the rest of it is deteriorating, and this causes many problems for the body’s overall performance. Therefore, after spending those several weeks off your feet while you heal are up, you’re going to wake up and get out of bed in the morning feeling better than ever, the pain from your injury will be mostly gone, and you’ll feel ready to get back on that horse and be productive…until you notice that walking out of your room is a bit more difficult and uncomfortable than it used to be.
How Does It Work?
An important thing to understand about your body, and how all of its moving parts are working together to help you move and perform tasks, is that when one area or muscle group stops performing its fair share of the work, your body will find ways to compensate for it. If you injured your bicep and spent 6-12 weeks without using that arm, how much work do you think your rotator cuff in your shoulder will be ready to do? Another muscle group will take over some of the work, another limb will bear more of the burden of weight, and the ligaments will stretch further when the joint stops moving at the range it used to. All of these things add to the wear and tear of your body and lead to more pain and inactivity in the future. Physical therapy is designed to stop this from happening. When many people recover from an injury, they come to the conclusion that if it doesn’t hurt anymore, then it’s all better. This mindset is a slippery slope that will only lead to more struggles, aches, and pains as you advance in age. The seemingly tedious stretches, exercises, and routines that your physical therapist has you perform are designed to target those areas where strength, flexibility, and range of motion have suffered the most. If you commit to a recovery plan with your physical therapist and see it all the way through, you will notice an undeniable difference in the pace of your recovery, and you will be amazed at how much of your physical functionality you regained.
Physical therapy is far from a simple magic bullet that cures all of your ailments. It requires hard work, commitment, and a team of experts to help keep you motivated and engaged throughout the process to ensure that your road to recovery is as swift and painless as possible. Theradynamics is a therapy and rehabilitation clinic that specializes in the care and recovery of those suffering from physical, or cognitive, impairments. Our team of licensed therapists, and pediatric physical therapists, stand ready to help you on your journey to a full recovery with one-on-one therapy sessions, and a number of convenient locations. For more information, please visit our website and schedule your first visit today.