Our bodies are made to be used and active. When illness or injury impede our ability to move, physical therapists step in. PTs help people optimize their ability to move after joint replacement surgery, sports injuries and other musculoskeletal complaints.
Orthopedic doctors will tell you that physical therapy is essential for maximum healing after surgery. But PTs also address a number of other conditions that may surprise you.
- Parkinson's and Huntington's are two neurodegenerative disorders. Strengthening exercises help these patients cope better in battling the loss of motor function. The goal is to keep them safely mobile as long as possible.
- Multiple Sclerosis attacks the nervous system, causing, among other issues, muscle weakness, poor balance and coordination. PTs works with MS patients gait training, mobility and using canes, walkers, etc.
- Muscular Dystrophy and Cerebral Palsy are two distinct disorders that can have similar symptoms. MD typically strikes teens to adults; it is progressive. CP is birth injury brain damage that affects children, but never gets worse. Both involve lack of muscle control and seizures, among other things, and symptoms vary in degree. PT helps with coordination, improvement of muscle strength and strategies to perform daily tasks at home and school.
- PTs devise treatment plans for sufferers of headaches, chronic fatigue, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, carpal tunnel, diabetes, and of course, osteoarthritis. Specific exercises target specific areas of the body that improve circulation and muscle function to reduce pain and promote healing.
- Cancer and Lymphadema patients deal with the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy that can cause pain and swelling. Remedial massage, compression, and encouraging movement gives the patient a sense of control over his own body, and makes life seem more normal and enjoyable.
- PTs are consulted in the hospital when burn victims are beginning the long, painful journey of recovery, maximizing functional abilities.
- Pelvic pain and dizziness can be resolved by working with a PT. Directed exercise repeated at home reinforces gains and speeds progress.
So when you think of a physical therapist, remember that they are not limited to athletes and old people. The field of physical therapy is growing. Contact us to see what allied health careers offer and what positions are available.
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