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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

Nine Reasons Why Physical Therapy Is Good for You

Sep 30, 2021 08:30AM ● By Cynthia Akey
Physical inactivity is a national health crisis, especially during COVID-19. Being able to move well is the key to living a healthy, active and independent lifestyle. Physical therapy aids people of all ages and abilities in restoring movement capabilities. Anyone can receive physical therapy—you don’t need a referral to see a physical therapist. Here are 10 reasons why physical therapy is good for you.

1 Maximize Movement.

If you experience pain while sitting, standing, walking, moving or sleeping, physical therapy can help. Physical therapists can develop a plan of care to restore regular function and help you live a happier, independent life. Regular exercise also reduces stress by increasing endorphins and improving mood.

2 Minimize or Reduce Pain.

Living with acute or chronic joint or muscle pain can be unbearable and may require pain medication, which many people would like to reduce or eliminate. According to an article by the CDC, alternatives to addictive opioids should be considered, such as physical therapy, which can reduce pain, improve function and sometimes cost less than long-term pain treatment with opioids. Manual therapy may include joint and soft tissue mobilization to increase circulation. Exercise and movement training reinforce healthy movement patterns.

3 Reduce and Prevent Injuries.

With a combination of stretching and movement techniques, a structured, customized exercise education program from a physical therapist will help reduce injury and prevent future injuries.

4 Improve Posture.

To combat repetitive forces of frequent sitting and improper standing that often lead to neck, back, shoulder or hip pain, your physical therapist can provide treatments and exercises to reinforce healthy postural alignment.

5 Improve Balance, Gait, and Stability.

If you have difficulty walking, have reduced joint mobility or have fallen, a physical therapist can help treat your balance problems by identifying the causes and designing an individual treatment program to help improve your strength, stability and mobility. Those living with a form of hypermobility syndrome (HMS) may experience pain, sprains, joint and ligament injuries, loose joints and dislocations. Physical therapy may include gentle mobilizations, re-education and behavior modifications, and therapeutic exercise programs that focus on strengthening and endurance-building in order to improve postural support.

6 Avoid Surgery.

In many cases, physical therapy may be used as an alternative to surgery. Following a physical therapy plan of care can help you eliminate pain, promote healing, and improve strength and flexibility, possibly reducing or eliminating the need for expensive surgery and long recovery times.

7 Improve Performance.

The repetitive nature of many activities—including walking, running, cycling, racquet sports, basketball, baseball and golf—may cause undue stress on your muscles and joints. Your physical therapist can monitor your movement patterns and optimize your biomechanics to increase range of motion, improve endurance, reduce pain and minimize the risk of injury.

8 Help with Diabetes and Heart Disease.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health underscores the pivotal role physical activity plays in health promotion and disease prevention. Becoming more active can help lower blood sugar levels, which is important for those with diabetes. Physical therapy can help people with diabetes take part in safe, effective exercise programs. Your physical therapist can also teach you how to protect painful areas to make them less sensitive to diabetic nerve pain (neuropathy).

To prevent heart disease and heart failure, it is important to exercise and choose healthy habits. A physical therapy treatment plan would include a personalized exercise program and prescribed movement to improve mobility, stability, flexibility, strength and endurance.

9 Manage Age-Related Issues.

As one ages, arthritis may develop in the knees, hips or spine. Physical therapy can help people manage arthritic conditions or recover from joint-replacement surgeries. Seek guidance from a physical therapist for proper movement techniques and muscle strengthening to help lessen joint strain and prolong joint health.

Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants are movement experts, trained to identify, diagnose and treat movement problems. They help people manage pain and chronic conditions, and prevent and recover from injuries. These licensed professionals can optimize your movement and improve your overall health and wellbeing through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement.

Cynthia Akey is the Wellness Director at INVIVO Wellness, a team of dedicated healthcare practitioners and wellness service providers that offer a whole-body approach to physical therapy. Treatment plans may include hands-on manual therapies of joint and spine mobilizations/manipulations, massage and stretching techniques, electrical stimulation, therapeutic exercise programs and self-management recommendations. INVIVO physical therapists offer a complimentary 20-minute screening consultation to see if physical therapy is the best option. To learn more, call 414-265-5606 or visit