Physical therapy is a great choice for many, especially seniors, to achieve healthy living goals. Physical therapists provide everyday proactive healthy living services (in addition to commonly-utilized injury recovery services) in schools, practices, research offices, and hospitals.
Physical therapy can help seniors in so many ways! Physical Therapists can diagnose physical abnormalities, help with improvement in physical functions and mobility, assist with function maintenance, educate and train in proper functioning, and encourage and promote proper activity.
Note: Each individual should follow the advice of their medical professionals and speak with them before making changes to diet, exercise, or supplements. This post is for informational use only and is not considered medical advice.
Physical Therapy Benefits for Everyday Life
For seniors, physical therapy can encourage an increase and improvement in physical activity, and can help with conditions such as arthritis, osteoperosis, dementia, and balance problems in conjunction with vision, neurological, and nutrition issues.
One way physical therapy can proactively help seniors is through body movement education for fall prevention. Every year, 3 million seniors are treated in the ER for injuries from falls and 300,000 seniors are hospitalized for hip fractures. Falling once doubles the chance for a future fall. Many people who fall may fear activity afterward, and as a result become weaker and more susceptible to a future fall.
In the unfortunate case when a senior does fall, physical therapy can aid in reducing falls in the future, preventing infections, increasing strength, and lessening pain.
Goals Aided By Physical Therapy
Many people have physical health goals they wish to achieve, but they may not realize there is a destination to seek out for such goals, beyond heading to a general practitioner. These are a few areas physical therapists could help with.
1. Improved Movement: Physical therapists can identify, diagnose, and treat movement challenges.
2. Pain Relief or Prevention: Physical therapy can provide long-term pain solutions with techniques like exercises, joint and soft tissue mobilization, ice/heat therapy, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation for relief and/or restoring function.
3. Management of Diabetes-Associated Issues: Physical therapists can help prescribe and teach exercises for lowering blood glucose levels, treat chronic pain, improve walking ability, treat sores, help with assistive devices, and restore normal movement and balance.
4. Management of Aging-Associated Issues: Physical Therapists may be able to help with managing (or avoiding surgery for) arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis, degenerative disk disease, knee osteoarthritis, and/or recovering from procedures like joint replacements. They may also be able to help prevent or recover from falls with strengthening and balance exercises.
5. Strengthening After a Stroke: Physical therapists can help clients improve function and balance with therapies such as Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy, functional electrical stimulation, and motor imagery among others.
6. Putting Power in Patients’ Hands: Taking an active part in one’s own health plan is important to many people As part of physical therapy treatments, therapists typically work with their clients as a team.
Physical Therapy Resources
The ways physical therapy can help seniors that are shared here are but a few! For those who haven’t tried physical therapy, but are interested, a great first step would be to reach out to a local physical therapist and speak to them about how they might be able to play a positive role in healthy living. The American Physical Therapy Association has a tool that allows people to look up physical therapists around the country. Do let us know in the comments section if you utilize this and it helps – or if you have past experience with physical therapy that you recommend.