Even if we try our best, it’s not always possible to avoid physical injury. This is especially true while playing sports or working out in the gym.
If you’ve experienced an injury or have chronic pain, you’ll likely benefit from physical therapy. But, not everyone knows what to expect.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
1. Alleviate Pain
The major and most obvious benefit that physical therapy has is managing the pain from your injury.
While some issues are only mild (like a minor ankle sprain), others (such as a torn hamstring) can be particularly debilitating when it comes to discomfort. In many cases, severe pain can drastically affect your quality of life.
For example, simple actions like getting out of your car can become moments that test your mental fortitude.
Physical therapy’s reduction in pain will also reduce (or even eliminate) the need for medication. Given the fact that painkillers are some of the most addictive substances you can take, it’s always a good idea to stay away from them if you can.
Eventually, your pain will become virtually unnoticeable and you’ll be able to breeze through the rest of your recovery without incident.
2. Speed Up Your Recovery
While a crucial element in recovering from an injury is rest, you can significantly reduce your recovery time with proper physical therapy.
Carefully-selected movements and exercises will help damaged tissue heal more quickly. You’ll also be able to maintain as much strength and size as possible through physical therapy since you’ll be actively stimulating your body.
Interestingly enough, your attitude can also play a large role in how well you recover.
Since some injuries can be debilitating for months, it can be easy to fall into a mental slump if you’re attempting to handle it on your own. An experienced physical therapist understands the importance of psychological skills in recovery and will be able to help you through it.
You’ll also avoid potential mental health issues that can arise from not being at your regular level of performance, such as lethargy and depression. These are especially typical if you can’t move around much.
Simply put, having someone working with you on the road to recovering from your injury will provide a refreshing sense of security.
3. Increase Your Mobility
Even after your pain has mostly subsided, you may still experience complications from your injury.
A decrease in mobility is one of the most common results of a sports injury. This is especially true if you’ve hurt your knee, ankle, or lower back.
Unfortunately, an injured person’s hyperawareness of their injury leads to them using the affected area as little as possible. Over time, this (combined with inflammation or other symptoms of trauma) can lead to decreased mobility.
Some people may be able to accommodate having less mobility than normal for the duration of their recovery. Others (such as delivery drivers) will find that having difficulty in moving around is particularly stressful.
Even if your job doesn’t require you to be very active, you may still have trouble in the gym, taking walks, etc.
So, proper physical therapy is the route to in order to get your mobility back as soon as possible. After a few sessions, you may even find that you have more mobility than you did before your injury!
4. Avoid The Need For Surgery
For non-catastrophic injuries (such as a complete ACL tear), physical therapy has the potential to induce healing on its own. Since surgery is both expensive and drastically increases recovery time, effort should be made to avoid it unless absolutely necessary.
You also run the risk of experiencing further health complications, both during surgery and while you heal.
The scenarios where physical therapy will eliminate the need for surgery are highly variable, but typically include:
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Severe carpal tunnel syndrome
If you happened to have already had surgery for an injury, physical therapy still has plenty of use. It will drastically increase the rate at which you heal and regain mobility.
You’ll also reduce your need for medication. As previously mentioned, this will prevent any painkiller-related issues from arising down the road and ensure that you stay as healthy as possible.
5. Safeguard Against Future Injuries
Not all injuries are life-changing. Many are minor enough to be dealt with on your own but serious enough to affect your athletic performance.
Runner’s knee, for example, is a degenerative condition that typically affects those who frequently run long distances. Left untreated, it could eventually develop into a more complicated issue that may end up requiring surgery.
In a scenario like this, physical therapy accomplishes two roles:
- Helps alleviate your pain/mobility issues from your injury
- Prevents the injury from progressing, avoiding future complications
As previously mentioned, an emphasis on mobility stretches and exercises can easily make you more limber than you’ve ever been. This attribute in itself is a powerful safeguard against injury, further reducing the chances you’ll get hurt in the future.
Physical Therapy: Final Thoughts
Injury can be notably debilitating, but it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about physical therapy in mind, you’ll be well on your way to getting your life back on track as soon as possible.
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If you live in the neighborhood of Bixby Knolls within Long Beach, California and you prefer a Specialist in the field of Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Physical Therapy, click on the button below for your COMPLIMENTARY direct chat with Dr Danh Ngo.
Do not settle for standard Physical Therapy when you can hire one of the only few Physio that has demonstrated excellence in the niche of Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Physical Therapy.
Danh Ngo PT, DPT, OCS, SCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Specialist in Orthopedic and Sports Medicine
Mind Body Health Results Coach