The Benefits of Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Physical Rehabilitation, Back Injuries, Knee Injuries
Orthopedic injuries can be painful and debilitating, but you can get back to feeling your best with effective orthopedic physical therapy.
There are a couple systems that are essential to keeping you moving day in and day out. You're no doubt aware of your cardiovascular system that runs from your heart to your arteries and veins. But you have another system just as vital, and that’s your musculoskeletal system, which consists of your bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and connective tissue. The importance of those many parts means that when any of them get damaged — whether from an accident, sports injury, or overuse — the impact on your daily functioning can be severe.
Luckily, you can often get back up again fast with the help of orthopedic physical therapy, a branch of medicine focused on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal injuries. An orthopedic physical therapist is specifically trained in healing conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system such as arthritis, ligament sprains and tears, as well as shoulder, knee, back, and neck pain. Physical therapy can also help patients recover more quickly and fully from orthopedic surgery. Whatever the condition or injury, you’ll soon see the benefits of orthopedic physical therapy on your overall well-being.
How orthopedic physical therapy can benefit you
The goal of orthopedic physical therapy is to reduce your pain, improve the range of motion in your joints, and strengthen your muscles. In essence, your physical therapist will work with you so you can return to living your life comfortably without worrying about the pain of an injury or a chronic condition that affects your mobility, like carpal tunnel syndrome. Orthopedic physical therapy is also preventative. By going through the program, you’ll learn how to avoid another injury or prevent further damage to your muscles and joints by knowing the proper way to move to keep your body safe.
Fortunately, your physical therapist has many effective tools at their disposal to help you. He or she will employ a number of treatment modalities, including, but not limited to:
- Exercise. Your physical therapist will develop an individualized exercise program targeting the specific joint, muscle, or other musculoskeletal element in question. The aim is to reduce pain, improve mobility, and build up muscle strength. The physical therapist will guide you through the exercises at the office or clinic, but will also show you how to do exercises on your own at home. Always be honest with your physical therapist. Tell them if the exercises are causing significant pain or if you are unsure of how to do the exercises. The physical therapist can adjust the program so you’re comfortable while also making sure the physical therapy is working.
- Manual manipulation. In this treatment, your physical therapist will manually manipulate muscles and ligaments to break up scar tissue and boost mobility. The same manual manipulation can be done to stiff joints as well as injured ones.
- Hot/Cold therapy. Applying ice and heat can reduce pain and swelling in the injury joint. It can also prevent further muscle damage. Your physical therapist may recommend this treatment at home.
- Electrical stimulation. There are two types of electrical stimulation techniques that can be used as part of physical therapy. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) blocks pain signals to the brain. In neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES), electrical impulses to the nerves cause the muscles to contract. The idea behind this technique is that when the muscles contract, blood flow improves and therefore the injured muscle will heal.
After an injury, physical therapy is the first, best method of treatment to repair a damaged ligament or joint and get you back on your feet. If you act fast and follow your therapist's guidance, it can often even replace surgery. However, if surgery is necessary, orthopedic physical therapy following the procedure can also help you recover more quickly by increasing your strength and mobility through the techniques mentioned above.
Orthopedic physical therapy offers so many benefits. But the most important is the improved quality of life you’ll experience after the treatment.
Ready to see a physical therapist?
The therapists at All Sports Physical Therapy have helped thousands of patients overcome orthopedic injuries of all kinds. We offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment methods to get you back to living a pain-free life once again. Contact us for a consultation.