Physical Therapy Has Many Benefits

Posted on

Oct 27, 2015

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How do you treat orthopedic injuries? I really think that most orthopedic injuries benefit from physical therapy, says Dr. Sander Orent, owner and medical director of Medically Based Fitness. The teaching components of physical therapy are at least as important as the hands-on techniques that are applied.

Many orthopedic injuries occur because a person is deconditioned or overuses a body part. Whats underappreciated is that these often are repetitive stress injuries. Physicians commonly see patients with back injuries that result from years of repetitive stress on the spine. Injuries to the shoulder also commonly occur when patients exert force at the end range of the joint, for example, when lifting objects at work or weights in the gym.

Physical therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation during treatment, but its role does not end there. Continuing physical therapy identifies and corrects stress points, strengthens surrounding muscles and improves overall conditioning.

Focused strengthening of the muscles around the injury results in more rapid healing and less likelihood of recurrence, but many patients with orthopedic injuries also need a general conditioning program.

A good physical therapist will identify this need and work with the patient to construct an exercise program that addresses both the focal orthopedic problem and general conditioning, Dr. Orent says. They now have the tools to manage their activity and be sensitive to what their bodies are telling them, and they know they are heading for another problem if they dont pay attention.

The benefits of a conditioning program extend beyond healing and prevention of future injuries, reducing risks for cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

We physicians really dont have the time we would like to have to educate patients on these points, he says. That is a very valuable role of the physical therapist.

The physicians role is to appreciate when physical therapy is useful and encourage patients to continue their home exercise program even in the absence of symptoms, Dr. Orent says. Physical therapy is a lasting intervention that will make a difference to the patient in the long run and have a lasting impact on health.

This article was submitted by Dr. Sandy Orent of Medically-Based Fitness. He can be reached at Medically-Based Fitness in Boulder, CO or by calling 303-447-2873

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