Physical therapy: It’s not just for surgical patients.

Most of us think of physical therapy as a way to speed recovery from surgery or a recent injury. And while that’s true, that’s just one part of the physical therapist’s job. Covenant physical therapist Jacqueline Kareus, PT, DPT, CIMT appeared on WNEM TV’s Medical Moment segment to explain how physical therapy could help you or your loved ones.

Who can benefit from physical therapy?

Through exercise, soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilization and other techniques, physical therapy can help with:

  • A recent surgery or injury
  • Joint or back pain
  • Issues with balance/falls
  • Infants/children with mobility problems or developmental delay
  • Vertigo or other dizziness, concussions
  • Neurological conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis
  • Incontinence or pelvic floor issues
  • Amputations
  • Lymphedema

Patients of any age can benefit from physical therapy. “The youngest patient I’ve seen is 7, the oldest patient I’ve seen is 95,” Jacqueline says. Even infants and toddlers can be helped with physical therapy.

Avoiding surgery and opioids

If you’re considering surgery to alleviate pain, consider physical therapy first. “We’re seeing lots more people wanting to avoid surgical procedures if they can, or being as ready for surgical procedures as they can be,” says Jacqueline. Indeed, for some conditions, physical therapy has been found to be as effective as surgery.

Managing pain with physical therapy can also help patients avoid the use of opioids. While opioids can be an appropriate part of treatment for some conditions, their side effects – depression, possible overdose or addiction, and withdrawal when the medication is stopped – make physical therapy a better option for managing long-term pain.

Is it painful?

Jacqueline stresses that physical therapists are here to help, not cause pain. “There may be discomfort, if we’re stretching muscles that haven’t been stretched before, or if we’re strengthening something that hasn’t been strengthened for a long time. But it should be a fun and active way that our patients get to participate in and help dictate the treatment for what they want to get back to doing.” In other words, by experiencing some short-term discomfort with the help of your physical therapist, you can reduce or even eliminate the everyday pain that keeps you from doing what you love to do.

Do you need a physical therapist?

If you have joint pain, back pain, or are recovering from an injury, a physical therapist could help you. Ask your doctor for a referral or contact Covenant Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Posted Date: 10/30/2018


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