Physical Therapy Helps Throughout Your Senior Years With Pain Relief, Improved Mobility, Increased Strength, And Fall Prevention
Pegasus home caregivers in Lakeview Terrace and elsewhere know the benefits of physical therapy. You may believe it’s useful only when someone is injured or recovering from a stroke. However, research shows that physical therapy helps throughout your senior years.
A physical therapist uses custom exercise and equipment designed to assist individuals regain their physical abilities. It can also help individuals maintain or increase their level of functioning.
Aging doesn’t have to mean living in pain or losing your mobility. Your body changes, of course, and part of therapy is learning to compensate for those changes. Your therapist can teach you how to maximize your ability to function and live independently.
A therapist first evaluates your muscle strength and any mobility issues you may have. Then they work on increasing your overall fitness with individualized treatments. They can teach you how to move or use your muscles in new ways.
Physical Therapy Has Been Proven Effective For Relieving Pain
Chronic pain destroys the quality of life for many individuals. Studies are providing evidence of the effectiveness of physical therapy for pain relief. It can reduce or eliminate the need for opioids.
Most images of physical therapy show the therapist gently flexing part of an individual’s body. That’s certainly a big part of regaining movement. However, depending on your goals, the therapist chooses from other techniques such as the following:
- Manual – the therapist uses their hands to massage, mobilize, or manipulate with the goal of relaxation, pain reduction, and increased flexibility for the individual. Massage can increase circulation and relieve pain. Mobilization involves using twisting or pulling joints into place to increase flexibility. Manipulation works to realign joints to relieve pain.
- Cold – the therapist applies ice packs and may use ice massage to relieve swelling and inflammation.
- Heat – the therapist applies heat to loosen muscles and improve circulation.
- Hydrotherapy – the therapist uses water for relaxation and improved blood flow.
- Electrical stimulation – the therapist uses an electrical current to relieve pain and release stiff muscles.
- Ultrasound – the therapist uses sound waves to relax muscles and relieve spasms.
Infection prevention is another way in which physical therapy is helpful. If you’re immobile, such as after surgery, conditions like bed sores or pneumonia can be a problem. Guided movements can help prevent the development of those or other secondary infections.
The overriding goals of all therapy techniques are to reduce pain, regain lost function, and increase the individual’s ability to move. Goals also include strengthening coordination and balance. Some techniques work better for some individuals than they do for others.
Although a trained therapist can treat anyone from newborns to centenarians, many have specialties. Geriatric physical therapists focus on assisting older adults. They use many of the same techniques described above.
They may spend more than the usual amount of time with seniors on exercise. The therapist might have you stretching, walking, doing aquatics, or lifting weights to increase your strength. All exercises will be designed around physical limitations you may have.
As well as strengthening you, the therapist will help you become more mobile and flexible. One of their main goals is to help you prevent falls. Falls are the leading cause of injury in the elderly.
Injuries from a fall can leave you disabled. Some are so serious that you’re no longer able to live independently. And statistics show that the risk of a second fall doubles after the first fall.
Pegasus services include in-home physical therapy. That’s especially helpful if you’re recovering from a fall or illness. The big advantage, however, is that the therapist can evaluate your home for safety issues.
There may be a few small changes you can make that will significantly reduce your risk of falling. The therapist can also suggest other changes that make your daily living activities easier and safer.
Physical therapy is often prescribed for individuals recovering from a stroke. There are lots of other conditions for which it is helpful. These include:
- Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive impairment
- Cerebral Palsy
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Joint replacement
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
The American Physical Therapy Association provides an extensive list of conditions for which therapy can be beneficial.
Therapy isn’t a cure-all, but it can frequently relieve symptoms. It can also improve your overall health. Any improvement in how you feel or function is an improvement in the quality of your life.
It’s essential to discuss your mobility goals with your therapist. That helps them design a custom treatment plan that you’re comfortable following. You’ll often be asked to do homework.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our caregivers in Lakeview Terrace and our other locations are here to assist you with the level of care needed. We can help you obtain the physical therapy services you require to live safely and independently at home.