Have you been in an accident that leaves you with pain on damp days, or permanent mobility limitations? Are you overweight or advancing in age and notice that you don’t move as well or as easily as you used to? Regardless of the reasons why, being aware that you have limited mobility can be a distressing situation. While doctors have medications that may relieve pain or inflammation, there are other methods you can use to increase mobility and remain in better condition for a longer period of time. In fact, many people that thought they would never enjoy pain free movement again have found that physiotherapy techniques immensely helpful. As you look at five key ways physiotherapy can improve your life, remember that mobility issues aren’t just of concern when they occur. Rather, you must always know how to take care of your body in order to avoid these problems and also to speed recovery as much as possible.
Reduce Pain from Old Injuries
Consider a situation where you sprained an ankle or wrist years ago. Even though you may have regained full mobility and strength, those odd twinges on damp days or other issues can be a bit disturbing. On the other side of the equation, old injuries to your back, neck, shoulders, or knees can leave you with more limitations even though the injury itself should no longer be affecting your mobility and pain levels.
Here are some things you can look forward to by using physiotherapy for this purpose:
- a physiotherapist may use massage, heat packs to improve circulation, or cold packs to reduce inflammation. You will also learn how to use massage, heat and cold to better manage your pain and mobility issues at home.
- They may also use massage and other alternative therapies that will improve flexibility and encourage healing to deeper tissue structures. This is especially important in the stages just after it seems like an injury is completely healed, but the muscles and joints may still need some additional healing time and stimulation.
- Newer devices and technologies dedicated to deep tissue healing can also be used to help improve mobility, strength, and reduction in pain.
Receive Education On Healthy Body Movement
Chances are, you have heard many times about the best postures for walking, sitting, and even laying in bed. On the other side of the equation, slouching, rocking your chair back, or slumping your neck forward may all be habits that you simply can’t get rid of. To add insult to injury, if you lift things the wrong way, do not follow good form when typing, or engage in other acts that lead to muscle and joint damage, eventually it will show up in the form of injury, pain, and reduction in motion.
Regardless of your age and current physical condition, a physiotherapist can help you identify problematic body movements and help you adjust them to ones that will preserve pain free movement for as long as possible. From advice on ergonomic keyboards to finding the right chair to support good posture in the office, a physiotherapist can help you locate these items and use them properly. Needless to say, if you need gait training, posture correction aides, and other exercises, a physiotherapist will know which ones to use, and keep you on track with them.
It is very important to realize that education on healthy body movement is best obtained before you wind up with an injury or need surgery to correct a problem created by incorrect movement. For example, if you do a lot of typing, it is to your advantage to get advice on proper wrist position now and obtain the necessary tools rather than wait until you need carpal tunnel surgery. Not only will you enjoy better flexibility and strength in your hands and wrists, you can look forward to pain free typing for years to come.
Reduce the Risk of Developing New Injuries
Have you ever tried to rearrange the furniture in your home, lift something too heavy, or “pull a muscle” doing some other activity you aren’t used to? If so, then you know that sore muscles and achy joints can last for weeks or months. While many people consider these painful injuries an unfortunate part of life, they can actually be prevented when you know how to do so. Physiotherapists can teach you the following skills to help you reduce the risk of injury:
- learn what kinds of support devices are available for your back, neck, shoulder, knees, and other parts that may be injured during heavy lifting or other strenuous activities.
- Learn how to lift or drag things correctly using the strongest muscles in your body.
- Find out about the right warm up exercises to do before engaging in strenuous activity
- understand the importance of a cool down period and exercises that will help reduce the risk of injury and strain.
- Gain insights into your strength and endurance limitations so that you have a reduced chance of over extending and doing more harm than good.
- Know how to pick and choose good quality footwear and other gear that will protect your body from injury and ensure that damage is minimized even if you do make a mistake.
Obtain and Practice Exercises that Will Prolong Good Mobility
Injury aside, there is going to come a time in life when arthritis and muscle decline make it harder to move around. While you cannot entirely stop this process, or the accompanying neural degeneration, it is possible to slow it down. In fact, when you visit a physiotherapist, they can do more than give you exercises to reduce the risk of injury, or help you heal from an existing one. Here are some other exercise regiments you may be interested in:
- General strength building. At first, you may be tempted to seek help from a body builder or fitness trainer. While these people may be of some help, great care must be taken because many body building regiments only create scar tissue instead of muscle. As the injuries build up, eventually the muscles become very weak even though there may be plenty of “bulk”. A physiotherapist will give you more gentle exercises that will help you increase muscle strength and health without doing so much damage.
- Gain Information About Safe Exercise Methods. Did you know that the planking phenomena is actually dangerous to your abdominal muscles? Anything from excessive planking to squats and situps can be done incorrectly and lead to more harm than good. When you work with a physiotherapist, you will learn the correct form before you cause more injury. Remember, a physiotherapist has the goal of helping you maintain good range of mobility and strength as long as possible. It is a distinctly different focus from a gym where your main focus might be on bulking up, losing weight, or toning your body. While both groups aim to reduce and avoid injury as much as possible, a physiotherapist may be more aware of possible problems, and thus be more inclined to avoid problematic exercises.
- An exercise routine that you can use for life at low cost. As much fun as the gym may be, age and other health changes can suddenly leave you in a position where you can no longer do your favourite exercises. No matter whether the treadmill induces hip pain, or you can’t bench press, eventually you will wind up giving up on exercise and begin to decline even more. On the other side of the equation, physiotherapists often have simple exercises that can be used easily even if you have increasing limitations. Learning these exercises now can help you stay active longer and adapt as needed over the years.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety Associated with Exercise
If the word “gym” or “jog”, or “fitness” make you cringe, then you may be one of millions of people worldwide that has stress and anxiety related to exercise and fitness. Sadly, the more you hear about the usefulness of fitness watches, walking, group sports, and going to the gym, the harder it will be to achieve wellness and maintain good mobility levels. In fact, you may even unconsciously put yourself in situations where you get hurt or sick so that you can avoid exercise and the stresses you associate with it. This includes the social values that mock exercise and fitness as “geeky” or “nerdy”.
Fortunately, a physiotherapist can offer a much more relaxing setting where you have a chance to get past all the negative beliefs you hold about the way your body moves and exercise in general. As an added bonus, once you know that you are doing your exercises correctly, it will be much easier to stay with your program and get some benefit from it.
Many people today do not realize that physiotherapists have a great deal of important information about how the human body moves. Rather than just go to a physiotherapist after being injured, you can and should consider seeing one beforehand. Now is a perfect time to find out how to do everything from lift heavy objects correctly to find out how to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome. Why not learn all you can about how to preserve body motion and strength now so that you don’t have to worry as much about injury and decline later on?