By Ann R. Miller PT, DPT, ATC, CKTP
Clinical Director, Pottstown
Contrary to what most people believe, physical therapy is not just for rehabilitation. Physical therapists are the experts at evaluating the human movement system and helping to maintain good health.
As we go through life our bodies change and sometimes we develop aches, pains, stiffness and functional limitations. With the aging process there are associated changes which typically occur. We tend to lose muscular strength, flexibility and range of motion. We develop postural changes, our gait may change, and balance impairment is common. Functional activities may become more difficult to perform and our ability to do our jobs and participate in recreational activities and/or exercise may become more challenging. People frequently accept these issues and changes as normal and ignore them rather than seeking care and treatment.
A physical therapist can help prevent some of these little changes from becoming big things and impacting the quality of your life. Preventative strategies and education are much better and more cost effective than reactive treatment and/or surgery and medication.
Everyone should do some type of exercise to maintain good health, however, each person is unique and has different needs when it comes to exercise. There may be specific precautions and contraindications at times. The physical therapist is uniquely educated to evaluate and assess your posture, gait (how a person walks), range of motion, flexibility, strength and balance. The therapist will ask you about any pain that you are experiencing as well as any functional difficulties that you are having. They can help develop an appropriate exercise program that is right for you as well as provide you with education.
Physical therapists have a doctorate level education and are uniquely qualified to help manage one’s health from childhood to old age. Physical therapy is for life! Just like we see the dentist every six months to prevent dental disease, one should see their physical therapist regularly as well. Physical therapy will help keep your body working at optimal function and help prevent disease and dysfunction.
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