When your body isn’t moving the way it should, or flashes of pain interrupt everyday activities, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy. Physical therapy (PT) helps you get back to your optimal health and the activities you enjoy. The field of physical therapy encompasses a variety of treatments, and benefits multiple conditions. Let’s look at what you can expect when one of our providers recommends PT.
Why physical therapy is important
Staying active helps keep you healthy into your senior years. Movement should feel natural and pain free throughout that time, but sometimes that’s not the case. Many people discover it becomes harder to move without restriction and keep up with everyday activities as they grow older. They may also experience an injury or illness where pain often follows. That is where PT can help overcome these challenges.
Physical therapy also helps you attain a level of comfort and activity that you’re unlikely to achieve on your own. PT will get you to that point faster than simply relying on rest and medication. It treats the underlying cause rather than masking the symptoms.
How does physical therapy work?
Physical therapists are licensed healthcare providers trained to understand how your body moves and how to achieve its optimal function. They use techniques such as exercises, equipment, stretching, strength training, manual therapy, and other means to build up your physical capabilities over the course of your treatment.
On your first visit, your physical therapist will lead you through an assessment. They may ask you to bend, reach, walk, or balance. You’ll have a chance to explain what hurts or limits you, and what you hope to accomplish in your sessions.
As treatment progresses, your physical therapist will guide you in exercises specifically designed to improve your diagnosis. They might also provide manual care like stretching, massage, ultrasound, TENS, heat therapy, or ice packs. This reduces inflammation and loosens up areas that contribute to discomfort and restriction. You’ll likely leave with a few exercises to practice at home.
The length of PT treatment varies from person to person. Some issues can be overcome within several appointments, while others take longer — it just depends on your body’s needs. At Northwest Primary Care, our goal is to help you start feeling better in about four visits.
What are the benefits of PT?
Physical therapy offers many benefits and patients may experience more than one positive outcome. Among the most common are:
- Reduced pain, or even completely overcoming it
- Timely return to full range of motion after surgery or injury
- Better management of conditions like arthritis, fibromyalgia, cardiovascular problems, and age-related challenges
- Enhanced sports performance, both for competitive athletes and those who play for fun
- Recovered movement capabilities following a stroke or other health setback
- Improved core strength and balance
- Overall improvement in quality of life
Portland primary care physicians supporting your PT needs
Northwest Primary Care understands the value of physical therapy and we make sure you can access it when and where you need it. Our providers are happy to assist in coordinating with NW Therapy to find the treatment best suited for your needs.
NWPC has been providing onsite care to the Southeast Portland, Milwaukie, and Clackamas communities for more than 30 years.
Contact NWPC today to schedule an appointment or learn more about how physical therapy can keep moving toward your optimal health.