Have you ever suffered a serious injury and felt helpless before seeing a doctor? Only to experience the amazing benefits of physical therapy leading to your recovery? Whether you are an athlete or a regular person, no one is immune to injuries, and you may need therapy sessions for recovery. But what exactly is physical therapy?
Physical therapy, also known as physiotherapy or PT, is an important but often overlooked treatment plan for injuries. It is often used as the first treatment option or offered alongside other treatments for more severe injuries. But why is physical therapy important after an injury? In this article, we are going to tell you some of the benefits of physical therapy after an injury
The main reason doctors recommend physical therapy is that it helps restore your body’s function and activity after suffering an injury. It is also an effective treatment method, which is less invasive than other options such as surgery. Furthermore, it offers many benefits that can help improve your physical and mental well-being.
Why Is Physical Therapy Important After an Injury?
Why do physical therapy after an injury? Why not go for other faster alternatives, such as medication or surgery? Physiotherapy is indeed a long process that requires a lot of hard work. However, it is effective and promotes long-term recovery with reduced risk of something going wrong during treatment or future injuries.
Main Benefits of Physical Therapy After an Injury
Our 12 Answers to Why Is Physical Therapy Important After an Injury:
If you are wondering why is physical therapy important after an injury, then you should know one of its main benefits is improving mobility. The therapy program involves stretching and strengthening exercises, which stimulate your body’s muscles and ligaments. Without these exercises, the reduced activity brought about by your injury can result in diminished mobility.
Physical therapy exercises also help your body heal faster, restoring your range of motion. In addition, these exercises can improve mobility in other people without injuries. For example, the elderly and others who have trouble moving, walking, standing, or using their limbs.
Reduce or Remove Pain
According to a scientific study on knee osteoarthritis, physical therapy is an effective treatment option that can help relieve pain. Massage, soft tissue mobilization, and other PT techniques can help stimulate the injured area, promote faster healing, and reduce or eliminate pain. In fact, the CDC recommends treating chronic pain with physical therapy instead of prescription painkillers, which are highly addictive.
After an injury, the affected area is likely to swell, with the surrounding muscles or tissues becoming tight and suffering from a limited range of motion. The reduced mobility during the healing process can also cause your muscles to lose strength.
However, physical therapy can strengthen and activate these muscles and reduce inflammation. Therefore, your body can heal much faster, helping you to return to your normal lifestyle and activity.
Due to this reason, physiotherapy treatments are often offered as part of work comp injury settlements to help employees who have suffered from work-related injuries recover faster. Incidentally, physical therapists also perform employment physicals to determine if employees are physically fit to perform their duties.
Learn About How the Body Works
Do you want to know another excellent answer to why is physical therapy important after an injury? Well, you get to learn more about how your body works. A reliable physical rehabilitation facility won’t just help you recover from an injury but also teach you how your body works.
The goal of physical therapy is to restore the mobility of your body. However, to do this, you must first learn how your body works and, more specifically, the right way to move your body and muscles.
During physical therapy, you also need to learn how to move without causing further injury during recovery. The educational part of the program is thus a vital component, which can have a life-changing experience that benefits you long after the recovery.
Help Avoid Surgery
Physical therapy can help alleviate pain, promote faster recovery, strengthen your body, and restore mobility. Therefore, it is possible to recover from an injury without needing another treatment, such as surgery, which is invasive and has more risks. However, even with surgery, you can still use physical therapy before and after the procedure to fasten your recovery process.
Prevent Scar Tissue Build-up
Scar tissue formation is a side effect you will likely experience after an injury. The scar forms as part of the body’s natural healing process when new tissue grows on the injured area to replace the damaged ones. Unfortunately, the new tissues sometimes ball and clump up, causing scar tissue.
Physical therapy is one of the solutions that can help prevent or reduce the severity of scar tissue formation. Techniques such as stretching, pulling, and soft tissue mobilization help to stretch and realign the growing tissues, which reduces scarring.
Prevent Future Injuries
Are you still looking for a good enough reason for “why is physical therapy important after an injury?” How about the fact that it can protect you from future injuries? Your body can become vulnerable after an injury, where even the wrong movement can worsen it or cause damage to another part of your body. On top of that, if you don’t heal properly, you will likely experience issues from the injury at a future date.
Therefore, physical therapy is crucial as it helps you recover without aggravating your injury. It also promotes proper healing of the injured area while strengthening your body’s muscles and tissues, preventing the problem’s recurrence.
Strengthen Balance and Prevent Falls
Any physical injury can affect your body’s balance, interfering with your movement coordination. This, combined with the reduced range of motion and weakened muscles, can easily lead to falls, aggravating your injury or even causing another one.
Physical therapy is thus vital as it involves exercises and routines that help you improve your coordination and balance. It also strengthens your body’s muscles and restores your range of motion, which reduces the risk of falling when you move.
Improve Strength and Conditioning
Perhaps you are still wondering, “Why is physical therapy important after an injury?” Is the long and tedious process worth it? There is a good reason why physical therapy is recommended even for sports-related injuries; it helps to strengthen and condition the injured area.
Aside from helping with recovery, sports physical therapy centers focus on increasing muscular strength and building endurance of the muscles associated with the injured area. As a result, they are less vulnerable to injuries in the future. For athletes, this means regaining their mobility faster and helping them to return to competitions with reduced risk of other injuries.
Helps You to Function Optimally
Physical therapy involves treating underlying issues such as improper posture and wrong spine alignment. Fixing these issues helps your body to move and function more efficiently. Therefore, not only can the treatment restore your mobility, but it can also help you attain optimal physical health and performance.
Helps With Other Conditions
Physical therapy is not only crucial for treating injuries, but it can also help with other health conditions. According to scientists, physical activity can help reduce the risk of — or manage — diseases and health conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, and stroke.
And finally, here is our final answer to why is physical therapy important after an injury; it can help slow down your body’s aging process. While it might seem farfetched, physical activity can help manage signs and symptoms of aging.
Exercise increases your heart rate, improving cardiovascular health and brain function. Physical activity also strengthens your body’s muscles and prevents muscle and bone loss. This helps maintain excellent physical and overall health, even as you age.
Types of Physical Therapy
From the above benefits, it is pretty clear that physiotherapy is essential not only in treating injuries but in a range of other health conditions as well. However, you may not know that it is a broad discipline, and there are several types of physical therapy treatments you can get depending on the injury or condition you are suffering from. Below is a look at some of the most common ones:
Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Orthopedic physical therapy is one of the most common types of PT, and you can find professionals practicing this discipline in any rehab and physical therapy center. It involves restoring or enhancing the use of the orthopedic system, i.e., the muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It is primarily used in treating sports-related injuries (such as ACL tears), injuries from falls, repetitive joint use, and more.
Orthopedic physical therapy is designed to restore flexibility and range of motion and build strength. It involves stretching, endurance exercises, strengthening exercises, joint mobilization, electric muscle stimulation, hot and cold packs, and more.
Geriatric Physical Therapy
Geriatric physical therapy is a form of physiotherapy that involves the movement needs of the elderly. It treats arthritis, balance disorders, osteoporosis, joint pain, and Alzheimer’s. It is also used after joint replacement procedures. The main aim of geriatric PT is to help restore mobility, improve physical health, and alleviate pain in older adults undergoing the natural aging process.
Wound Care Therapy
Wound care therapy is a field of physiotherapy that is involved in the treatment of wound injuries. They collaborate with medical teams, patients, and their caregivers to offer PT treatment that helps improve movement and function during and after recovery.
Wound care physical therapists also help promote faster healing of wounds, reduce scarring, alleviate pain, and build strength and endurance of the affected tissues/muscles. Wound care therapy can also be used in caring for patients suffering from non-healing wounds such as diabetic wounds, pressure ulcers, non-healing surgical wounds, etc.
Vestibular therapy is a type of physiotherapy that focuses on rehabilitating vestibular (inner ear issues) that affect balance, movement, and coordination, such as vertigo. The therapy involves strengthening the body’s muscles to improve balance and steadiness.
Why You Should Do Physical Therapy After an Injury
So, why is physical therapy important after an injury? Why not just take medication and recover at home, or even undergo surgery to treat the injury? Is the time and effort spent in PT sessions worth it?
While it might seem like too much work, physiotherapy is an effective treatment for injuries, whether from falls, sports injuries, car accidents, or more. It can work wonders, even better than medication and surgery, without the risk of addiction (from prescription painkillers) or surgical side effects.
Undergoing physical therapy after an injury can also offer you far more benefits than improvement of your physical health. For example, a physical therapist assessment is important for people applying for medical marijuana cards or disability appeals.
Why is physical therapy important after an injury? Physiotherapy is a necessary discipline that offers an effective treatment option for injuries. With a proper PT program, you can recover fully from your injury and gain several other health benefits, such as improved physical and overall health, a deeper understanding of your body, and reduced risk of future injuries.
But physiotherapy is not just for treating injuries. It can be applied in many situations, such as treating issues affecting older people, treating vestibular problems, wound care, relieving pain, promoting mental well-being, and more. You should only seek the services of qualified professional physiotherapists to get the benefits of the therapy.