By Caroline Lieberman, DPT
Living pain-free is crucial to quality of life.
Physical therapists are experts in the science of movement and mobility. They develop prescriptive exercise plans tailored to individuals, provide hands-on care and patient education to optimize quality of life for their patients. They provide care across a wide range of conditions and diagnoses including back pain, dizziness and falls, post-operative knee and hip replacement, post-concussive injury, stroke, COPD exacerbation, incontinence, coronary artery by-pass surgery, muscle strains and sprains. Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants diagnose and treat existing health conditions, and also provide patient education, customize plans of care and preventative treatments that can help people avoid many health problems before they occur.
The goal of physical therapy is to restore health so that patients can manage their symptoms and prevent future issues on their own, thus not having to return over and over again for treatment.
Physical therapy is not a “quick fix” but rather a steady road of dedication and determination to the overall mission of being well, getting well and staying well. Physical therapy increases a person’s physical activity, which helps reduce risk of falls or developing other chronic diseases. Research also shows that moderate-to-vigorous exercise can reduce the risk of cognitive decline by 36 percent.
Physical therapists combine extensive education, clinical experience and the latest research to create treatment plans tailored to a person’s specific needs and goals. They work collaboratively with the entire medical team to ensure patients receive comprehensive care, communicating constantly with MDs, PAs, RNs, CNAs, care managers, respiratory therapists, teachers, orthotists/prosthetists and many other health professionals across the entire spectrum of care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges healthcare providers to reduce the use of opioids in favor of safe alternatives, like physical therapy, for most non-cancer-related chronic pain management. If you have nagging injuries or suffer from chronic pain, consider how physical therapy can help you achieve a pain-free life.
Caroline Lieberman, DPT, MS, CLT, is the Manager of Inpatient Physical Therapy at Mission Hospital.