Did you know that each year, half of all Americans over the age of 18 will develop a musculoskeletal injury that lasts longer than three months¹? That’s more than 100 million people who could benefit from working with a physical therapist! And, yet, according to statistics, only about 11.7 million adults took advantage of outpatient physical therapy services in 2020. The good news is that number is growing as more physicians and patients realize the tremendous benefits of physical therapy.
For instance, 41% of patients looking for a drug-free pain relief option found physical therapy to be the most effective treatment². And, 78% of those surveyed said they preferred drug-free approaches compared to pain medication³. Studies also show that physical therapy can lower patient treatment costs by 72%⁴.
Physical therapy (PT) can play a key role in healing and mobility after an injury, as well as improve outcomes before and after surgery. It can be used to treat people of all ages, with conditions ranging from sports injuries, injuries from accidents, mobility issues, surgical recovery, and even chronic conditions. But how does it help?
HOW PT HELPS
Physical therapy is hands-on, requiring effort not only by the therapist, but also by the patient. It typically begins with an evaluation and the development of an overall plan. Treatment may involve a variety of modalities, including manual manipulation of joints and soft tissue, specific stretches or exercises, massage, heat or cold therapy, ultrasound, electric stimulation and more.
There are many applications for physical therapy. It has been proven to:
Relieve pain from chronic conditions, such as spinal issues
Improve mobility and balance
Prevent or recover from a sports injury
Avoid surgery for some conditions
Rehab after a stroke, accident, or surgery
Control your bowels or bladder
Adapt to a prosthetic
Learn to use assistive devices such as a cane or walker
Just as no two injuries or patients are alike, each physical therapy session is different. The type of treatment you receive, as well as the frequency and length of treatment is based on your individual condition, physical abilities, and goals. In general, you can expect sessions to last 30-60 minutes, several times a week. Your visits may change in length and frequency over time. However, the key to success is commitment and consistency.
Patients are encouraged to perform the exercises they learn at PT at home, both in between sessions, and after sessions are concluded. By learning the techniques and performing them at home, patients will continue the healing process and maintain the benefits they achieved during PT.
Continuing to exercise at home can help you:
Reduce your risk of returning to the hospital or experiencing a decline in health
Reduce your risk of reinjury
Maintain strength and balance, therefore preventing further injury
Reduce or eliminate pain
Return to previous activities
The goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for your injury, age and lifestyle!
² Gallup, Inc (2021). Americans Prefer Drug-Free Pain Management Over Opioids [Online]. Available from: https://news.gallup.com/reports/218495/s.aspx?g_source=link_wwwv7&g_campaign=item_217676&g_medium=copy [Accessed 20 February 2021].
⁴ MedRisk (2021). Statistics Spotlight: Physical Therapy Reduces Costs [Online]. Available from: https://www.medrisknet.com/statistics-spotlight-physical-therapy-reduces-costs/ [Accessed 19 February 2021].