A physical therapist helps a patient extend his arm.

Top 5 Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy, a combination of functional exercises and education about the way your body moves, has a wide array of benefits. Physical therapists can help you reduce chronic pain, recover from an injury, or even step up your game in your chosen sport. So come on—let’s get physical! 

1. Physical Therapy Can Help You Recover From a Traumatic Event

Physical therapy can reduce the symptoms of many injuries or adverse events, such as a stroke or a car accident. A specialist can work with you to determine what muscle areas need work and recommend functional exercises that focus on these sites. Over time, this can help patients build strength, increase flexibility, achieve better health, and, in some cases, even avoid surgery. 

2. Physical Therapy Can Lower Your Risk of Aggravating Your Injury 

After a strain, tear, or other trauma, moving the wrong way could put additional stress on your wound. A physical therapist will assess your injury and teach you about which movements are generally safe and which might exacerbate your pain or further damage the area. 

3. Physical Therapy Can Improve Mobility and Balance   

While many think of physical therapy as a treatment that occurs after trauma, it can also be a form of preventive care. Older patients often receive physical therapy to help them move around without the need for walkers or canes while also helping them avoid falls, which can lead to broken bones and other injuries. 

4. Physical Therapy Can Reduce Chronic Pain 

Whether a patient’s chronic pain stems from an injury or a disease like arthritis or fibromyalgia, a physical therapist can analyze their condition and create a plan to help reduce their pain. In fact, an analysis of over 88,000 people with some type of musculoskeletal pain found that even one session of physical therapy that occurred quickly after diagnosis could reduce the amount of opioids, highly addictive pain relievers, a person took. This has the potential to reduce dependence on these drugs and lead to healthier outcomes overall. 

5. Physical Therapy Can Help Improve Athletic Performance 

Physical therapy isn’t just for treating injuries—it can also help people who want to increase efficiency in their chosen sport. A specialist will determine which muscles to focus on and the right exercises to improve your strength and flexibility, helping you score more goals or reach a new personal record. Regularly attending physical therapy can also prepare your muscle groups for the repetitive movements of your sport, reducing your risk of injury

If you want to learn more about how you can benefit from physical therapy, schedule an appointment with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group orthopedic physician or primary care physician. They can help determine whether this is the right treatment for you and refer to you a trusted physical therapist. 

Sources: 
Medical News Today | How can physical therapy help?
Baylor College of Medicine | Expert says think twice before skipping physical therapy
American Physical Therapy Association | Role of a Physical Therapist
Jama Network | Association of Early Physical Therapy With Long-term Opioid Use Among Opioid-Naive Patients With Musculoskeletal Pain