Physical therapy is a medical practice with multiple proven health benefits. Not everybody needs physical therapy, though if individuals suffer an injury, they'll often benefit from some form of physical therapy during their recovery. Additionally, a variety of chronic illnesses and degenerative diseases can be treated through physical therapy. A physical therapist is an expert in movement who helps optimize a patient's quality of life through education, hands-on care, and prescribed exercise.
When individuals undergo physical therapy, the therapist will go over their medical history, range of mobility, and goals. Different treatment techniques can be used to promote a patient's ability to move, restore function to portions of the body, reduce pain levels, and prevent or slow the progression of disability.
One of the most common reasons individuals undergo physical therapy is to increase their mobility and balance. Following surgery or a serious injury, there's usually a resting process to the recovery. During this process, the injured area might not be moved often so it can heal. This lack of mobility can cause the joint to stiffen and the muscles and tendons to shorten, which reduces an individual's range of motion. When patients undergo physical therapy exercises, their physical therapist will help lengthen and strengthen the muscles while encouraging a fuller range of motion in the joint.
The same is true of patients who have impaired mobility because of chronic or degenerative illnesses like arthritis. If an individual's joints have stiffened, a physical therapist can help gently loosen them over time through stretching and strengthening exercises. For patients who struggle to maintain their balance, physical therapy can help them strengthen the involved muscles and become used to their gait. A variety of therapeutic exercises can make walking and mobility easier and safer.