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More than Massage: Who Benefits from Seeing a Physical Therapist?

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In line with our theme for National Physical Therapy Month, today I am going to build off the previous post that explained WHAT physical therapy is and discuss WHO would benefit from physical therapy. The easy answer is that everyone could benefit from some movement progression and exercise…so I guess my work here is done. Thanks for reading! 

I’m kidding, but only a little bit. Who feels like they get a better work out when they have a trainer or a set program? I know I always do even though I have the knowledge to write my own program. There is just something about having some structure that makes things run a little smoother and make you feel like you are doing the right things. Physical therapists (PTs) can be that structure for you. As I talked about in the last post, PTs design individualized rehabilitation programs based on patient presentation, tolerance, and goals. Let’s look at some examples.  

Acute Injury 

Recently sprained your ankle or had a fall and injured your shoulder? We know the proper way to handle these types of acute injuries and have evaluation skills to determine if the injury is severe enough to require a referral to a physician. With acute injuries, we use the POLICE method. This stands for protection, optimal loading, ice, compression and elevation. PTs can help restore your range of motion, improve your strength and increase your stability after a recent injury. We know how to properly load the injured tissue without causing damage in order to get you back on your feet doing the things you love.  

Chronic (Persisting) Pain 

Have you had lingering low back pain that has seemed to last for years? Or a nagging shoulder ache that just won’t seem to go away? This is chronic pain and we use the biopsychosocial model to help with your pain. When a pain persists for longer than a few months, our brain gets better at producing this pain response. Since pain is multi-factorial, PTs are here to help you discover and solve all aspects of your ongoing pain. We work to find the triggers of your pain, calm the area down, and then slowly build you back up.  

Surgery 

Thinking about having elective surgery? Talk to your physician about seeing a PT prior to your surgery. We would work on making sure you have full range of motion and strength before going under the knife, which can help with post-surgical outcomes. Surgery is expensive, so let’s do all that we can to maximize your outcomes, even if that means a couple visits of pre-hab. Already had surgery and need to get back to sport or work? PTs work directly with surgeons and understand what’s needed to properly progress patients based on the surgery and tissue healing times. We know how to progress exercise and activity all while allowing the injured site to heal.   

Maximize Movement  

As discussed in the previous blog, PTs are human movement experts. We take each patient through a thorough movement screening and use this screen to develop an individualized plan. We can help you move more efficiently resulting in lifelong habits that hopefully keep you injury free. We don’t aim to just get you back to where you were prior to injury, we want to make sure that you are stronger than ever before.  

Whether you want to improve your strength, mobility and stability or you’re recovering from an injury, we’re here to get you back to doing the things you love in the safest way possible. Remember, movement is medicine! 

About the Author: Drew Dudek, PT, DPT, ATC is a physical therapist in the Axes Physical Therapy location in O’Fallon, MO. He is a recent graduate of Belmont University and a passionate advocate for movement health and physical therapy. He enjoys playing and watching sports and working out to stay in shape.

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