4 questions you might be asking about physical therapy

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What Is Physical Therapy?

When you think of physical therapy, what comes to mind? Strenuous exercise? Physical exertion? Associated costs of these services? For many people considering physical rehabilitation, it’s reasonable to have a lot of questions.

If you’re facing physical therapy in your future or are conducting research on behalf of a loved one, it’s easy to get into information overload.

Simply put, the goal of physical therapy is to bring you back to a state where you can be more active and independent. What this looks like is different for everyone.

Here are some of the most common questions we hear in regards to physical therapy for seniors, as well as what to expect from a physical therapist:

What is physical therapy?

The physical therapy profession is driven by one mission, “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.”

Physical therapy is the treatment of illness, disease, or injury by physical methods (i.e., exercise, stretching) rather than through surgery or prescription drugs. While surgery or prescriptions are viable options for many seniors, few things can return seniors to health more reliably than physical therapy.

Improvement in overall strength, increased mobility, and preserving a range of motion are all ideal outcomes from physical therapy treatments or services.

How do I know if I need physical therapy?

Many circumstances might warrant a visit with a physical therapist, such as an injury or a fall. Injuries and falls are quite common among senior citizens. According to the National Council on Aging, “In 2015, the total cost of fall injuries was $50 billion. Medicare and Medicaid shouldered 75% of these costs.” When a fall or injury takes place, a physical therapist is often brought in to help with treatment. 

Of course, that is not the only occurrence of physical therapy for senior citizens. Chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke are also common reasons why you or a loved one might see a physical therapist.

While the reasons for seeking treatment vary, it is common for seniors to need the care and treatment of a physical therapist. Aging joints and muscles can benefit from exercises, massage, or activities that stimulate and encourage movement. In turn, this can help with balance or regaining mobility.

What does a physical therapist do?

A physical therapist’s job is to focus on functionality and movement. They develop personalized plans for care and rehabilitation to accomplish the goal of physical therapy, as stated above.

Many times, a physical therapist will work as part of a team consisting of doctors, physician’s assistants, and surgeons to help determine the best path to recovery for a patient. A physical therapist often works alongside doctors in “establishing a diagnosis, prognosis or plan of care.”

Once a plan of care is established, a physical therapist will work directly with a patient to ensure ideal outcomes are achieved.

What will my life be like after physical therapy?

The goal of physical therapy is to bring you back to a state where you can be more active and independent. What this looks like is different for everyone.

Many people find that after physical therapy, they’re better able to manage pain or weakness in individual limbs. Others realize that they have better mobility, balance, or increased strength. Most of the time, however, patients realize that it’s easier for them to complete daily tasks and activities after going through this type of rehabilitation.

Physical therapy with USA Healthcare

Whether you’re looking at physical therapy for yourself or a loved one, you may not know where to start. At USA Healthcare, we’re here to help simplify the process for you and point you towards facilities which can make a difference in your life or that of your loved one. Not only do we provide high-quality care, but we have experience working with families. This means we can ensure the patient, as well as his or her family, feels informed during each step in the rehabilitation process.

Contact us today and let us know how we can help.