Ever wonder if you need to seek out Physical Therapy? Have you ever questioned if the pain you are experiencing is enough to warrant an appointment?
I have had several patients lately during their initial evaluations make the comment that they feel like maybe they should not be here because they really are not having that much pain. My response is: if you are having to modify the way you do things on a day-to-day basis, or relying on your opposite arm or leg to help you complete a task, than you are in the right place.
There is no level of pain/discomfort/restriction that you must feel to warrant physical therapy. If you are no longer able to complete tasks/work responsibilities/ADLs (activities of daily living) the way you used to, than you are in the right place.
Far too often, patients will finally set up an appointment after months of pain and compensation. At this point it can be difficult, but possible, to achieve 100% full recovery in a timely fashion. It is so much easier and significantly faster to begin treatment on a patient that presents to physical therapy within the first few days or weeks of an injury. This way, we are able to correct your movement patterns in pain-free ways so that you are not developing bad habits that will set you up for further injury.
Physical therapy can also help with controlling your pain levels so that your body can heal, as well as provide you with education so that you can avoid future recurrence or flare-ups.
Sometimes, patients will present to therapy with reports of absolutely no pain; which is wonderful to hear, but they are having a lot of tightness and restrictions in the joints that may be limiting their range of motion. They may provide examples of what is difficult, such as putting on a jacket or shirt. Even reaching into their back pocket or looping a belt can be challenging. However, what they seem to focus on the most is the fact that they really are not having much pain, and feel that maybe they should not be in therapy and that this restriction will just go away with time.
These thoughts could not be farther from the truth. In fact, in time these restrictions could turn into pain that will continue to build and possibly create a cascade affect into other problems in the surrounding joints. My point: just because you are not experiencing pain does not mean that you do not need physical therapy.
Physical therapy can provide an array of stretches to help loosen up the muscles and joint capsule. In conjunction with the stretches, strengthening exercises can provide to the surrounding musculature to help support the joint and hold it in an anatomically correct position.
So, there are several things that physical therapy can help with besides pain control. If you ever wonder if physical therapy is right for you, call and set up a free consultation, and a therapist can assess your complaints. We are here to help, and would never encourage someone to continue on with physical therapy if they truly did not need our services.
-Ashley VanRees, PT