Spring has sprung! Are you anxious to schedule that first tee time, set up time to walk or run with your friend, or hop on your bike and hit the trails? If you are thinking yes, that’s me, but an aching back, sore shoulder, or nagging knee pain is holding you back, then we may have the solution for you. Physical Therapy could be the key to resolving that aching or nagging pain and allowing you to Get Physical.
What is Physical Therapy?
There are many different types of physical therapy but we are going to focus on physical therapy for orthopedic conditions. Orthopedic physical therapy is prescribed to treat injuries of the musculoskeletal system and can be beneficial in treating conditions that are non-surgical, in preparing physically prior to a surgery (prehabilitation), and for maximizing outcomes following a surgery(post-operative rehabilitation). A physical therapist can help you regain your mobility, strength and function through the use of various physical interventions.
Physical Therapy for Non-Surgical Conditions
You decided to take advantage of the nice spring weather and go for a walk to chase away the winter blues. Unfortunately, you were walking on uneven pavement and sprained your ankle. How can you speed up your recovery? An orthopedic surgeon could prescribe physical therapy to help minimize your down time. Physical therapy can be used to treat a wide variety of non-surgical injuries. Were you doing yard work and are now suffering from back pain? Physical therapy can help to reduce pain while increasing your strength and flexibility. Did you start golfing again only to have an elbow injury? A physical therapist can work with you to decrease pain and swelling and correct the improper technique that likely led to the injury. Maybe you hit the trails on your bike and hurt your knee– a physical therapist can help you with a treatment plan that allows you to get back in the saddle (of your bike) as quickly as possible. Or perhaps you are looking forward to swimming but you are hesitant because you’ve been experiencing shoulder pain. A physical therapist could treat you using manual therapy- massage, mobilization, or manipulation to decrease the pain and get you ready to dive right in. Physical therapy is a great non-invasive treatment option for injuries that may not require surgery.
If surgery is necessary to treat your condition or injury, often pre-surgical physical therapy or “prehab” is a great option. The idea behind “prehab” is that the more fit you are before surgery the more quickly you will recover. Prehab can help you enhance your functional capacity and build endurance prior to surgery to assist in a more speedy recovery following surgery. Ask your orthopedic surgeon if “prehab” would be a good option for you.
Physical Therapy to Rehabilitate after Surgery
Physical therapy after surgery concentrates on many of the same areas as therapy for non-surgical injuries and prehab. Your therapist will work with you to create a plan that is tailored to your needs and abilities in an effort to get you back to your normal functional level with less chance of injury. Physical therapy will assist in minimizing pain and swelling while maximizing flexibility and function. Your therapist will progress you through the treatment until you have met your goals of restoring movement, stability and strength in an effort to return you to your activities of daily living as quickly as possible. In other words they will want you to be able to complete all activities you were capable of pre-surgery so that you can get back to living and doing the things you love.
At the Orthopedic & Shoulder Center we have an experienced team of physical therapists and physical therapy assistants. Our physical therapists, Gage Lyons, Sylvia Smiser, and Traci Kissinger have over 25 years of combined experience and are assisted by a highly skilled team of four physical therapy assistants. All of our therapists have been trained in a variety of orthopedic techniques which include: Graston Technique for soft tissue mobilization, Myofascial Release to reduce pain and increase mobility, and Kinesiotaping to provide muscle and joint support and stability. Our facility also has state of the art equipment including a Triton Traction Table, Pilates Reformer, and Game Ready Vasopneumatic units to help maximize patient outcomes.
If Spring Fever got the best of you and you dove right in to a new exercise program or activity and are now experiencing some pain or tenderness in your ankles, shins, knees, back, shoulders or elbows, don’t wait until the pain becomes unbearable! Talk to your Orthopedic Surgeon about physical therapy and if it could benefit you!