By Jonathan Lim Sze How | Therapydia SF
The aim of Physical Therapy is to help individuals augment, maintain or improve their overall mobility and function in order to achieve optimal quality of life.
PTs are highly trained professionals well versed in all aspects of human anatomy and physiology, biomechanics and movement, pathology etc. Currently, all PT programs offered in the USA for entry to practice are a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) degree which is typically a 3 year long post-graduate program. In order to be eligible to practice here in the USA, PTs need to pass the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE), as well as additional individual state licensing exams. In addition, PTs can pursue various residency and fellowship programs, as well as other various speciality certifications of their choosing.
Who can benefit from PT?
Traditionally, Physical Therapy has been associated with rehabilitation after a sports injury or a surgical procedure. However, PT can be much more than that. PTs can help anyone who seeks to optimize their wellness or fitness goals, while minimizing the risks of injuries. PTs are involved in the management of various chronic conditions like heart disease, COPD and arthritis, as well as the most acutely sick patients in an Intensive Care Unit with their mobility and cardiopulmonary needs. PTs can also help patients in their homes, e.g. an elderly patient after a stroke or a young adult with a spinal cord injury, to help them become more independent with their daily activities. PTs can be found working closely with children with developmental disabilities and their families to help them working around their different barriers.
There are a multitude of benefits of Physical Therapy. Below are 5 of them:
Benefit 1: Improving Quality of Life
PT is more than getting rid of aches and pain. PTs can help anyone who has difficulty with their day to day activities, either by offering solutions to work around their obstacles or finding ways to resolve activity restrictions. Every PT’s main goal is for their patients to become as independent as they can, and/or manage with the least help possible. This can be by helping a geriatric patient learn how to use a cane go up and down stairs, or get in and out of a car on his/her own; an amputee moving out of his/her wheelchair into a bed safely and independently; or someone who had a recent shoulder injury get dressed on his/her own. PTs can also be a great resource for patients’ relatives to enable them to take care of their loved ones more effectively and reduce the burden of their caregiving duties.
Benefit 2: Fitness and Wellness
Physical Therapy is not only for those who have sustained injuries or who have recently undergone surgeries. PT can be very beneficial for healthy individuals wanting to improve their overall wellness. Anyone who wishes to get into a healthier lifestyle, resume their previous exercise regimen or simply looking to improve their performance can benefit tremendously from PT. PTs can offer great advice on strength and conditioning, and work alongside trainers to ensure their client’s pain-free and injury-free participation in various activities. As movement specialists, PTs are a great resource to help their clients achieve their fitness and wellness goals by setting appropriate goals and the best strategies to achieve them.
Benefit 3: PT and Mental Health
Sustaining a serious injury, dealing with a chronic condition, constantly being in pain and unable to participate in your normal daily activities can be very frustrating and draining. This can have a very negative impact on mental health, especially when having a difficult time handling your recovery and managing your pain. PTs are not only there to ensure that their patients are on the right path to full recovery. They can also help educate and empower them to take control of their own health and rehabilitation by encouraging them to play an active role in their own rehabilitation, educating them about various self-care/self-management strategies and teaching them about their own bodies. Having a high level of self-control and self-efficacy has a positive impact on one’s mental health and perspective.
Benefit 4: Accessibility of Physical Therapy and Telemedicine
So far 2020 has been quite a tumultuous time for our profession. As the whole world had to quickly go into quarantine or shelter in place, most physical therapists had to adapt quickly in order to continue providing the high level care to their patients with minimal disruptions. Telemedicine was the answer to this issue. Telemedicine was traditionally more common where access to PT was scarce, e.g. in remote rural areas. However, in the past several weeks we have seen how well Telehealth can be implemented within our practice as everyone is sheltering in place. Accessibility to PT will dramatically increase in that respect and we may anticipate a shift in our practice towards having a mix of in-person and virtual visits as our lives return back to normal.
Benefit 5: Movement Expertise
PTs are well versed in human anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, and are movement experts trained in assessing gait pattern and various body movements. Many of us do not move in optimal ways which over time can lead to movement dysfunction resulting in pain and possible injuries. Movement discrepancies can be visibly obvious or very subtle and barely noticeable. Motion in one part of the body can be affected by suboptimal movement in other areas of the body. For example, inability to properly squat can be affected by poor ankle mobility; shoulder and neck pain can stem from poor positioning of the pelvis and ribcage mechanics. PTs are trained to be able to pinpoint those discrepancies and offer solutions to optimize movement.
At Therapydia, we offer highly skilled, one on one Physical Therapy sessions tailored to every patient’s individual goals. Our therapists work with each and every client not only throughout their rehabilitation but also along their path to wellness. We offer high-end services in beautiful boutique facilities and pride ourselves in achieving the highest level of satisfaction among our clients.