Three weeks ago my 84-year-old mother underwent lower lumbar surgery. I felt confident we had a great surgeon and she was in a top rated hospital. That being said, at her age, I had concerns about her ability to make a full recovery.
The surgery went well and she was out of the hospital in four days. While the surgeon and the hospital staff were absolutely critical to a successful outcome, the difference between a good outcome and a great outcome, was her physical therapist (PT).
For ten days post discharge, this professional worked with her every day, sometimes twice a day so that she moved from wheelchair to walker and now to full mobility. Today my Mom is home and walking without chronic pain and on her way to a fairly great recovery.
Physical Therapist or Do it Yourself?
If you have ever suffered a physical injury, a stroke or a heart attack or suffer from chronic pain, a physical therapist can make all the difference in restoring movement, reducing pain and helping you adapt as you recover.
Physical therapy takes work and can be painful and tedious. That is why working with a trained professional can make all the difference. Many people think they can recover on their own, but this can actually cause more harm than good so that you are doing the right exercises and not doing too much or too little.
A certified physical therapist has completed a four year undergraduate degree and then three years of post graduate training to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). During that time, they study anatomy, physiology, neuroscience, pharmacology and more. In addition to their classroom training, they also spend time in clinical training, learning to work with patients.
This training means they have a deep understanding of the body and treatments that can include exercises, massage, hydrotherapy, electrical stimulation and heat and cold therapy.
Three Reasons We Love Physical Therapists
- They make us smarter. A great PT educates us on the principles of stretching and strengthening, how to improve our posture to preserve the spine and even the best positions for sleep. This helps us better manage our pain and make the healing process go faster.
- Create New Awareness about our Bodies. As we're recovering, we need to become familiar with how our bodies move and their limitations. A PT will help you understand your joints and muscles and how to not only recover but how to take care of them for the rest of your life. Daily stretching, improved posture, increasing your strength will become part of your routine. This will not only help you return to normal activities but will help you take better care of your body as you age.
- They are great coaches. Recovering from an injury or illness is hard work. It can also be a lonely process when you are coping with physical limitations and pain. Your PT will be there with you during this process and give you the motivation and support you need to make it through so that you achieve success in your recovery.
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