What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is the use of physical means, such as exercise, joint and soft tissue mobilization, patient education and modalities to treat disease or injuries. Preventing injury is another important part of physical therapy. Improving posture and balance, building stronger muscles, and teaching better work and health practices are some of the ways our physical therapists can help you achieve optimal functional independence. Whether your problem is short-term, such as an ankle sprain, or chronic, like arthritis, physical therapy can relieve pain and get you back in action. We can teach you relaxation techniques to help you reduce stress. We will also design a personalized home exercise program for you. We can analyze your posture and help you improve it. As with any exercise program, please consult you doctor.
Therapeutic exercise can increase the motion and the strength of joints. Exercise builds muscles and increases muscle tone, which helps to stabilize joints. Tendons and ligaments also gain strength when they're used. Even your bones grow stronger with weight-bearing exercise. Exercise helps you feel better in other ways too. Regular exercise improves heart function and decreases blood pressure. Many people who exercise regularly report that they sleep better and feel less anxious. Best of all, exercise stimulates your body to produce more endorphins for natural pain control.
Helpful Tips for Proper Exercise
Always consult your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Exercises appropriate for those with arthritis are often different from the movements taught in fitness center classes or videos.
Exercise should not cause serious pain. If pain continues, do not exercise through pain and tell your physical therapist or doctor about the pain.
Effective exercise programs should be done daily. Make your exercise program an important part of your everyday activities.
Always start your exercises with a warm-up period. Learn how to gently stretch your joints, ligaments and muscles.
Exercise slowly, gently and smoothly. Jerky movements are more likely to cause injuries.
Increase your exercises slowly. Slow and steady progression is essential to success.
Be sure your exercise program emphasizes flexibility and muscle tone, not just strengthening.
Don't stop your medication unless your doctor suggests it. Exercise programs are not a replacement for prescribed medications.