Physical therapy exercise is a non-invasive therapy that helps you develop, maintain, and restore maximum body movement and physical function. Usually, you might need to go for physical therapy exercises when you suffer from an injury or pain. Physical therapy also helps you to prevent worsening of the injury or future injuries. Ultimately, physical therapy enables you to improve your health and quality of life.
When it comes to restoring your body’s mobility, physical therapy exercise plays a vital role, especially following any trauma or illness that makes you immobile. Once you decide to go for physical therapy, you would usually visit a physical therapist or get a referral from your physician to meet the physical therapist. They are the qualified professionals to help you with treatment and teach physical therapy exercises to improve and restore your normal mobility and reduce pain. Your physical therapist would pick a variety of techniques involving hands-on techniques, exercises, and other types of equipment to quickly relieve pain and restore your function to optimum levels as early as possible.
Physical therapy exercises improve your overall mobility. Hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, cardiac rehabilitation centers, sports teams are places where you could find physiotherapists.
Table of Contents
- Getting Started
- Types of Physical Therapy Exercises
- When do you need physical therapy exercises?
- Why physical therapy?
- Tracking your physical therapy exercises with CareClinic
Starting on physical therapy exercises is quite simple. When you suffer from an injury or an illness that results in pain or limits your mobility, you can visit your physician and discuss about a referral to a physical therapist. Physical therapy is considered safe and less complicated care when compared to medication or surgery. Many states in the US permit you to access physical therapists without a referral from your physician.
You can discuss about your concerns with your physical therapist. Your physical therapist will be planning about your therapy since he or she has vast knowledge about exercise techniques appropriate for you. He or she will teach you the exercises you have to do to relieve your pain or improve your mobility. Even though your physical therapist decides and plans your therapy exercises, it is all in your hand to commit to the therapy.
Types of Physical Therapy Exercises
Your physical therapist chooses therapy suitable for you from a variety of different types of physical therapy exercises. The types of such exercises are listed below but not limited to,
- exercises to improve strength, posture, and range of motion
- exercises for vertigo, balance, and dizziness
- flexibility exercises
- functional mobility exercises
- cardiorespiratory exercises
- balance and proprioception exercises
There is various equipment used for physical therapy exercises. But the type of equipment you need depends on the exercises you are supposed to do and the target of each exercise. But that is not the case all the time; sometimes, you may not need any special equipment for your physiotherapy exercise.
These physical therapy exercises are typically carried out at physical therapy clinic, but they can also be given at a hospital or home. If you seek physical therapy during your hospital stay, you might need to start at the hospital, then continue at home upon your discharge, and might pay few visits to the physical therapy clinic. At-home exercises would help you keep your injury or illness under your control.
When do you need physical therapy exercises?
Who would like to stop doing something they like? Some conditions pose a threat to put people confined within a limit by compromising their physical ability. They are the injuries or diseases which should be treated by physical therapy along with medical treatment. If you encounter any event, trauma, or illness resulting in pain, limited mobilization, immobilization, or physical impairment, then the physical therapy exercises are the solution to get relieved from them. In almost all cases, physiotherapy plays a vital role in restoring function. Following are a few of the conditions which warrant physiotherapy.
Sports makes more intense and sudden movements of the body, in specific different muscles and muscle groups. Such activities, for example, in sprinters, might result in injuries naturally. Apart from those injuries resulting from natural movements, accidents by themselves also happen. For example, when you try to come to a sudden stop while tackling a ball in soccer, you might hurt your foot. Moreover, contact sports are where players are more prone to injuries caused by sudden excessive force or impact.
Spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injuries usually result from accidents. Nervous tissue is more sensitive than other tissues and takes a long time to recover if they sustained very mild damage. As far as they are functional, physical therapy exercises would assist their recovery faster.
Stroke or Cerebrovascular accidents
Strokes can vary in types, and they involve different areas of the brain. Depending on the affected area and extent, the range of a loss of function varies—generally, the earlier the diagnosis of stroke, the better the prognosis. Following a stroke, apart from the medications prescribed to prevent further episodes and ease their symptoms, many patients would need supportive therapies such as physical, occupational, and speech therapy to restore their normal function.
Immediately following the fracture, the first thing to do is to keep the fractured bone immobilized. Bones play a vital role in our activities and movements. Moreover, due to immobilization, the muscles associated with actions involving the fracture site would become wasted. You can simply understand it if you think about a bodybuilder loses his toned muscles when he stops exercising. Since they are kept immobilized for a particular period, you will need physical therapy exercises to restore the function.
Arthritis is a term to denote a large group of inflammatory diseases, and related conditions have joint inflammation as its main characteristic. Osteoarthritis (OA), Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Gout, are the well-known types of arthritis: but there are many others. Treatment of them is different in terms of the cause, but the goal is to give pain relief, reduce inflammation, and maintain the optimal function of the involved joint. Physical therapy exercises would help you to overcome pain and limited mobility.
These demanding conditions vary depending on various factors like age, regular physical activity, and fitness, etc. In simple terms, if you have impaired mobility, physical therapy should be considered to normalize your function. The physical therapists would analyze your activity or movements before jumping in to treat your illness.
Why physical therapy?
Despite your age or sex, physical therapy helps you improve your health condition following injury or illness. But depending on various factors such as your illness, injury, current state, involved part of the body, etc., the physical therapy exercises will be customized, and the outcomes may be different.
A physical therapy program customized for you will help you gain your function and also would lifestyle changes and encourage activity that can help you to prevent further injures. At times, your physician would directly refer you to a physiotherapist as a conservative approach towards your injury. Ever wondered what the benefits of physical therapy are? Below are a few.
Reduces or eliminates pain
Apart from painkillers, physical therapy just works locally on your soft tissues – i.e., muscles, tendons, and joints. They reduce inflammation and restore the function of the joint and associate muscles. These can be done as manual therapy or treatments using ultrasound or electrical stimulation.
Usually, surgery is considered an option (as a last resort, though) if pain and reduced mobility involve a joint. But physical therapy might eliminate pain or helps you recover from an injury, thereby avoiding the need for surgery. Besides, in case of surgery, physical therapy before surgery would be helpful in quick recovery. Quick recovery means less hospital stay, less dependency, and fewer expenses.
Physical Therapy exercises, in specific, stretching and strengthening exercises, would help you if you have difficulties in mobility. For example, following a stroke, you will experience loss of function and movement to some extent. Physical therapy helps you to strengthen weakened parts of your body and helps to improve balance and posture. These exercises will also improve coordination to help with safer walking. With time, you could be able to move around and be independent with the activities of your daily life. A customized care plan offers the flexibility to focus on activities to ensure maximal performance and makes your life back to normal.
Recover from or prevent a sports injury
As you read in previous paragraphs, engaging in sports will make you more prone to injuries. Physical therapy exercises that are focused on the type of injury would help you recover early and prevent injuries in the future.
Managing disease conditions
Exercise becomes part and parcel of the management of few diseases. For example, diabetes and few vascular conditions need regular exercise to keep the blood sugar levels low and keep a healthy blood supply. Some medical conditions involving the heart and lungs need physical therapy to lead a quality life. Physical therapy plays a vital role in lung-related diseases, which causes stagnation of fluid in the lungs, while physical therapy helps you perform daily activities following cardiac rehabilitation procedures.
With age, the problems involving joints tend to set in. Physical therapy would be helpful in relieving your joint-related pain and symptoms. As I already mentioned above, even if you need a surgical procedure, physical therapy exercises would help you recover quickly.
Manage feminine health
Women have specific health concerns. With pregnancy and post-partum care, physical therapies may involve providing better outcomes. Bowel incontinence, constipation, fibromyalgia, lymphedema, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence are a few concerns that can be addressed by physical therapy.
Tracking your physical therapy exercises with CareClinic
Let us say when you accepted and committed to the physical therapy suggested by your physical therapist. You started doing it, but remembering the times can be difficult. Recognizing how your symptoms were before and comparing them with your current state is difficult. We do not always remember what we do when we do or how many times we do when it comes to repetitive tasks. Hence, tracking your physical therapy exercises is important than just simply committing to it.
CareClinic is a one-stop personal health app, providing numerous valuable features to help you maintain a health record. Create a self-care action plan, add medications, physical activities, therapies you receive, supplements, and diet. You can set a healthcare team that manages your health and physical therapy. Add your physical therapist along with your physician, registered nurse, and family members to keep them in the loop.
The symptom tracker lets you add symptoms you are experiencing. Since the pain and immobilization occur following trauma or illness, it is best advisable to use this feature to track how and when your symptoms are appearing or worsening, or relieving. Apart from pain, if you take any medications, you can start tracking your symptoms before beginning with medications and compare how well the physical therapy exercise relieves you from symptoms after a combination of drugs and physical therapy. By using this symptom tracker, if you experience symptoms non-specific to your illness or injury, you can detect them and seek medical help at your earliest.
This feature lets you keep a record of therapies you may be receiving, including physical therapy exercises. You can maintain a log of “what to be done” and “how-to” using this feature. Also, you can record all your appointments so that you never forget something.
The diary entry feature lets you make entries about your daily life. Use the app’s diary entry feature to track day-to-day activities or events you encounter. You will realize how important it is to monitor your days during your physical therapy. Your symptoms might be worsening or relieving throughout the day with your daily activities. Make a note using this diary feature about your activities and try to mention when you felt relieved or worse.
Use this feature to track all activities you do. CareClinic’s activity tracker lets you recognize any actions that precipitated, worsened, or relieved your symptoms. If you are a sports person, you might even identify the specific activities that help improve your symptoms and which don’t. Apart from injuries, if you have identified some activity-specific symptoms like fatigue, you can locate them quickly by reviewing your activities. You can look back to see if there are any correlations between your symptoms and any activity you may have participated in.
Pill Tracker & Reminder
Medications are important. When it comes to pain and immobilization, there will be few additions apart from just painkillers. Never forget your medications – including painkillers, multi-vitamins, and calcium with the CareClinic app. Add your medication with few simple taps, and you are good to go. You can set reminders so that you can go for a refill or prescription before you run out of medications. To learn more about tracking your mediations, take a look at our blog article on pill tracking.
CareClinic offers a nutrition tracker to help you maintain your diet log. When you are ill or less mobilized, it is essential to keep track of your nutrition. Following what you consume using this nutrition tracker feature will ensure the consumption of adequate nutrition needed for your wellbeing and quick recovery. Meanwhile, this nutrition tracker also will help identify your cravings and help you manage them. If you have to pick a specific diet to change your food habit because of your illness, you can follow your diet and reflect on how you can live a healthy life.
Reports are another great feature in the CareClinic app. They can provide a lot of perception into your lifestyle. CareClinic’s reports consider your logs in the diary, nutrition, activities, symptoms, etc., and subsequently generate reports to show the associations between those entries. This connection would be helpful to learn more about yourself and your illness-related changes.
You can monitor the progress of your recovery from the illness using this feature. Reviewing your progress in the report will give you confidence and motivation when you make positive progress; meanwhile, if you find out the therapy is not much fruitful, it will be reflected in the reports as well. By analyzing the report, you can communicate with your physical therapist with a documented proof to discuss the future course of your therapy.
Physical therapy is a well-known medical, hands-on approach to help patients get pain relief and restore function. The medical experts of this avenue are physical therapists. They are familiar with musculoskeletal and neurological conditions—also, they work closely with physicians. Physical therapists assess your movement to identify the reason behind your pain and prepare a plan to eliminate it. Each patient has different conditions, and your physical therapist will plan your therapy to suit your age, lifestyle, daily activities, etc. The overall aim is to relieve pain and restore function as soon as possible and prevent future injury.
You should always seek medical advice if you have any concerns about your pain and mobility-related symptoms following injury and illness. When you follow a physical therapy exercise routine, it is always best to track your progress. Using an all-in-one app like CareClinic can help you lead a healthy lifestyle by getting into the habit of tracking and sticking with your physical therapy exercises.
Download CareClinic now and lead a pain-free, healthy life ahead.