Many think physical therapy only benefits patients recovering from an injury or surgery. However, it can be helpful in many circumstances. Whether you have just given birth, reached a certain age, or have unexplained pain in your body. Physical therapy may be just what you need to improve your muscular strength, coordination, and balance, which will contribute to a better quality of life as a result.
How do you know it’s time to see a physical therapist? These 7 common signs may tell you:
1. You Feel Sharp Pain
Dull pain may be manageable for a while, but sharp pain is a different story. Not only is it extremely uncomfortable, but it’s also a sign of severe issues such as a pulled muscle, stress fracture, or torn ligament. If you experience sharp pain that doesn’t disappear after a few days, you should consider physical therapy. A physical therapist can identify the underlying injury and develop a treatment plan to help the affected body part heal.
2. You Feel Constant Pain
Just because dull pain is not that unpleasant, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address it, especially if you’ve been experiencing it for a long time. Of course, you know your body best. If the pain occurs right after an intense workout and goes away, it may not be a cause for concern. But you need to ensure it doesn’t persist. The worst thing you can do is learn to live with the pain and not deal with it for months or years. Dull, throbbing pain that keeps recurring is a telltale sign of chronic injury. In this case, you need to see a physical therapist who can help identify the underlying issue and develop a treatment plan to address it.
3. Your Daily Activities Cause Discomfort
Discomfort while performing routine daily tasks is one of the signs you need physical therapy. Therefore, you need to listen to your body and not dismiss signs that seem unusual. A swollen knee or back pain should not be normal when you are just trying to get on with your day, and you definitely should not settle for reduced mobility. Sometimes, all you need is an ergonomic workstation. Other times, your body signals that you may have an injury to address. A physical therapist can assess your condition and advise you on the lifestyle changes you need to be able to carry out your activities without pain and discomfort.
4. Pain Medication Doesn’t Help
Painkillers can do wonders to ease pain after an injury. Your doctor can prescribe the correct dosage for you, and you can also try over-the-counter painkillers to help manage the pain. However, medication is only one step in the healing process and may not be a long-term solution. If you experience persistent pain while taking pain medication, it’s one of the signs you need physical therapy. Exercising despite the pain can be an additional source of problems, as you risk another injury before you properly heal. The best strategy is pain medication combined with physical therapy to recover from the injury, rather than just numbing the pain with medication.
5. You Have Frequent Injuries
Injuries rank high among the signs you need physical therapy. But physical therapy is not always about recovering from a previous injury— it’s also effective in preventing one. If you have frequent injuries due to your lifestyle or the sports you pursue, physical therapy can help develop effective recovery and prevention strategies. In addition, a personalized exercise program will strengthen your body in all the right places so that you don’t have to give up the sports you love.
6. You Are About to Have a Baby
Physical therapy in postpartum has countless benefits, especially when dealing with pelvic floor problems or correcting postural changes. However, it can already be beneficial early in pregnancy by encouraging you to stay active and maintain muscle strength and function. By following a personalized physical therapy plan throughout pregnancy, you’ll learn about the changes in your body and the steps you need to take to stay strong as a new mother. This way, you might even dodge some of the problems occurring postpartum.
7. You Are Preparing for Surgery
If you’re about to have surgery, the best thing you can do is to consult a physical therapist and take part in a so-called prehabilitation program to prepare your body for the procedure you are about to endure. Physical therapy before surgery has proven to be so effective that it may shorten your stay in the hospital or help you avoid surgery altogether. Of course, surgery is sometimes inevitable, but prehabilitation physical therapy can certainly help your body cope with the pain better and faster.
These 7 signs are the most common reasons to see a physical therapist, but you know your body best. If you notice that something is not quite right with your muscles, posture, or mobility, it can be helpful to see a professional. Sometimes small changes to your routine can help; other times, you will need a thorough exercise plan. A physical therapist is trained to assess your body’s performance and can develop a personalized exercise program to help you stay active in your daily life.
Dr. Alexandra Chaux is a physical therapist with a focus on postpartum physical therapy, physical therapy for seniors, as well as for breast cancer patients. In addition to manual therapy, exercises, and neuromuscular re-education, Dr. Chaux offers specialized services, including yoga therapy and hypopressives. The combination of such methods allows for providing the best possible care for your needs. To book an appointment call 805-203-9940 or fill out the online form.
If you are experiencing any of the signs you need physical therapy, or if you have further questions, contact Chaux Physical Therapy at 805-203-9940 or request an appointment online. Dr. Chaux is looking forward to working with you!
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