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8 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help Improve Overall Wellness

8 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help Improve Overall Wellness

by Andrew Cassidy, PT, DPTLeave a Comment

Physical therapy is the catalyst which leads to many pain or performance improvements. ACL surgery, low back pain, golfer’s elbow – these conditions are well known to be within the domain of physical therapy. Most commonly, physical therapy is seen as a low-cost, conservative method to address pain. There are, however, benefits of physical therapy that go beyond resolution of aches and pains. Here are eight ways physical therapy can improve your overall wellness.

1. Better Mood

Regular participation in physical activity is an underused but helpful method of managing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Yet, for many this is out of reach due to chronic aches, pains, and injuries. Physical therapy can help alleviate those inhibiting pain points, or at least help develop strategies to work around pain. In doing so, most people are able to resume regular physical activity or exercise for health. The regular dose of exercise gives us a regular release of endorphins and a sense of accomplishment, both of which positively impact our mood.

2. Improved Sleep

Improved sleep is an unexpected yet remarkable perk that often accompanies physical therapy. By addressing pain and discomfort, physical therapy helps individuals find relief from sleep-disrupting conditions. The exercises and techniques prescribed during sessions may relax muscles, release tension, and promote a sense of overall well-being, creating an ideal environment for restful slumber. Moreover, the reduction in stress achieved through physical therapy can significantly enhance sleep quality. When pain is lessened, anxiety is reduced, and muscles are relaxed, it becomes easier for patients to fall asleep, stay asleep, and awaken feeling more refreshed. In this way, physical therapy acts as a natural sleep aid, granting the invaluable gift of better sleep.

3. Injury Prevention

Most people tend to think of physical therapy as a task to be completed following an injury or a surgical procedure. However, your physical therapist can also conduct movement screens, educate on proper lifting, running, or sport movement technique, and provide exercises that may reduce the risk of future injury. Instead of rehabilitation, this is often referred to as pre-habilitation (or pre-hab for short). Athletes can benefit from pre-hab to avoid injuries which might set back or ruin their season. Employees and employers can benefit from pre-hab to reduce missed work time. Anyone can benefit from pre-hab to lower the likelihood of back pain interrupting daily activities and leisure.

4. Ergonomic Assistance

Your physical therapist can offer guidance on how to set up your workspace ergonomically, whether at home or in the office. The optimal height and distance for your monitor, where to store or use manual tools, how to stand or orient your body working with a customer – all of these variables can be optimized. With ideal ergonomics at work, you’ll experience less aches at the office, or less time spent recovering from a long work shift.

5. Stress Reduction

Physical therapy is an effective ally in the battle against stress. It’s not just about mending physical ailments; it’s about nurturing mental well-being too. When we engage in physical therapy exercises, the body responds by releasing endorphins – those wonderful, natural mood lifters. These endorphins serve as the body’s own stress-reduction therapy, working to alleviate tension and anxiety. Moreover, physical therapists often incorporate relaxation techniques and mindfulness exercises into their sessions, teaching individuals how to manage stress through focused breathing and mental calm. As a result, physical therapy becomes a holistic approach to stress reduction that contributes significantly to overall wellness.

6. Weight Management

Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in weight management by tailoring exercise regimens to individual needs. For individuals with conditions that limit their ability to engage in conventional exercises, physical therapists design custom routines. This not only ensures safe and effective workouts but also promotes adherence to an exercise program. By facilitating regular physical activity despite certain challenges, physical therapy enables individuals to burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and build muscle strength, all of which are essential for weight management. This comprehensive strategy empowers individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, fostering improved overall wellness.

7. Exercise and Anatomy Knowledge

One of the lesser known but invaluable benefits of physical therapy lies in the educational aspect it offers to patients. During physical therapy sessions, patients gain a deeper understanding of their own anatomy and how their bodies work. Physical therapists take the time to explain the mechanics of injuries, pain, and recovery, empowering patients with knowledge that extends far beyond their time in the clinic. Furthermore, patients learn proper exercise techniques and form, ensuring they can continue their rehabilitation independently with confidence. This newfound awareness equips individuals with the tools to make informed decisions about their health and wellness, fostering a sense of control and self-sufficiency that extends beyond the scope of their physical therapy sessions. In essence, physical therapy becomes a classroom for self-improvement, empowering them to lead healthier lives.

8. Enhanced Quality of Life

Take into account all the above-mentioned benefits of physical therapy, and you can see the dramatic improvement one can experience. Mood, posture, injury prevention, increased knowledge – all these factors combine to improve the daily experience of patients in physical therapy. Even better, these benefits extend beyond the time you actually attend physical therapy appointments. Once you have attended physical therapy, you retain the insight, confidence, and knowledge your physical therapist facilitates.

To learn more, get started with a free assessment at an Athletico location near you! Our team would be happy to talk with you and recommend the best next steps to help you live pain-free. Free assessments are available in-person and virtually through our telehealth platform.

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*Per federal guidelines, beneficiaries of plans such as Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, VHA and other federally funded plans are not eligible for free assessments.

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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