About half of all Americans develop some type of musculoskeletal issue that lasts more than 3 months. But unfortunately, only about 9.58% of the people who could benefit from physical therapy actually get treatment. Much of this stems from a lack of knowledge regarding the Physical Therapists’ role in healthcare. Many people think, “Can’t I just do exercises on my own” or “Getting a massage is really all I need” or “I didn’t break a bone so what do I need them for”.
Yes, Physical Therapists can have their patients perform exercises and/or provide some type of “massage”, but these are just a couple of tools in a very large toolbox that therapists have to treat various musculoskeletal injuries and disorders. In fact, therapists can even be called movement specialists. The purpose of a physical therapy evaluation is to analyze a patient’s movements through a series of “movement tests.” Therapists take the information gathered from these tests to provide a diagnosis and plan for treatment. For example, if a person comes to the clinic with complaints of shoulder pain, the Physical Therapist will take their arm through a variety of movement tests to determine the breakdown in movement that is leading to the pain. This can include (among other things) muscle weakness, tightness or tension; poor joint mobility; or tension at the peripheral nerves.
Once the patient’s specific problem is determined, treatment can begin. Treatment usually includes exercises that are prescribed to address the specific movement disorders that were noticed during the evaluation. It may include specific hands-on (manual therapy) techniques that research has proven to be beneficial for the patient’s particular ailment. Therapists also provide extensive education on how to to change and or improve movement that is causing their issues.
Physical Therapy does require commitment! You may need to come into therapy regularly and perform a home program that may include exercises or movement modifications such as changing your workstation set up that is contributing to your back pain. More importantly, once the issue is under control, you will need to make the changes learned in therapy a part of your lifestyle to prevent the issue from coming back!
There are many specialities within Physical Therapy that you may not be familiar with. Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness offers a variety of specialties that can help you to manage your injury and/pain. These include General Orthopedic Therapists, Certified Hand Therapist, Pelvic Health Specialist and Lymphedema/Oncology Specialist. All of our therapists are highly qualified and able to assist you. We are happy to discuss your musculoskeletal issues or pain via phone or video chat to help determine if therapy is right for you.
For more information about how any of these specialists can help improve your movement, reach out to us at 301-421-1125 or firstname.lastname@example.org