Many Seniors today believe that aging and pain are synonymous. While aging is a natural part of our lives, pain in our bodies is a signal that something isn’t right. Some diseases like arthritis can attack the joints and cause inflammation, pain, and reduce our ability to move. However, the intensity or amount of pain that you experience is often an unnecessary side effect, and there are ways to help reduce or eliminate these problems. If you haven’t considered contacting a physical therapist, then you should keep reading as there are several benefits that physical therapists can offer you to increase your quality of life during your Golden Years.
Pain relief is one of the most common reasons that any patient visits with their Physical Therapists. While it is common to consider visiting Physical Therapist for neck or back pain, you may consider a consultation for any type of discomfort.
Physical Therapists commonly adjust the spinal column which houses your brain stem and the nerves that travel throughout your body after passing through your vertebrae. This means that if you are having discomfort anywhere in your body, it may be resolved or reduced by making sure that the nerve can easily pass signals to the brain.
Increased Range of Motion
Many seniors will tell you that aging commonly attacks their joints. Painful and inflamed joints can restrict the body’s ability to move freely and over time, as these muscles go unused, they begin to shrink and become weaker. After a visit with their Physical Therapist, many senior golfers have found that they have gained distance in their drives and gardeners find that they can finally collect their harvest without pain for the first time in years.
Better Balance and Movement
As the bones and muscles in our necks begin to deteriorate, one of the first signs can be a change in our ability to maintain balance. There are specific structures called mechanoreceptors that reside in our cervical spine and are partially responsible for helping us maintain our balance. As we age, they often experience some minor defects. Physical Therapy has been shown to help restore and stimulate the mechanoreceptor's function which leads to an increase in our ability to balance. Improved balance can also mean fewer falls and a decreased chance of injury.
Reduced Joint Degeneration
If your spine is not aligned correctly, it can cause additional strain and wear on many of our other joints. When we don’t hold proper body position, our legs, hips, neck and other joints must compensate for this change. Over time this can cause damage to the joints that lead to increased discomfort and a reduction in our ability or desire to move. Adjustments can help to bring the spine into proper alignment which allows for correct body positioning and reduced demand on the joints throughout the body which can leave you feeling better and moving more.
Increased Quality of Life
A 1996 study suggested that patients who used Physical Therapy to aid in their health, versus those who did not, received several benefits. These benefits include:
Less evidence of arthritis
Increased strenuous exercise levels
In fact, these patients also found that receiving physical therapy may have even influenced their ability to stay out of a nursing home. At a follow-up interview three years after the study, only 5% of the patients who received physical therapy had moved to a nursing home compared to 48% of those who did not receive care.
Physical Therapy has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for people of all ages. However, as our bodies age, we need to be increasingly cautious about the medications we take or the treatments that we use to maintain or improve our health. Physical Therapy is used for seniors, athletes, teens, adults, for those with injuries, pregnant women, and even babies. If you think that you may benefit from physical therapy, schedule an appointment today.