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How Can Physical Therapy Help My Condition?

How Can Physical Therapy Help My Condition?

That’s it! You’ve had it! You’ve had this nagging pain for long enough and have decided it’s high time you do something about it! You go in and see your doctor who informs you that the best treatment is to “go see a physical therapist”. A physical therapist?! What is he/she going to do?! How can physical therapy possibly help my pain?! Well – you’ve come to the right place as that’s the exact topic of our post today! Toby Bluth, PT, DPT, shares some of his insight as to how physical therapy can help to treat your pain, help you feel better, and get back to participating in those things that you love doing. Keep reading for more!

I had an interesting conversation a few years ago with my father-in-law, who is an attorney.  I have tons of love and respect for this man.  In particular, I appreciate his ability to analyze all angles of a situation.  During this conversation, our topic was his worsening shoulder pain.  As an avid tennis player for many years, his shoulder was now not allowing him to serve and play the way he was accustomed to.  He posed the question: “How can physical therapy help my shoulder feel better?” As a newly practicing physical therapist (PT), and feeling a bit interrogated by his attorney style, I struggled a bit to give a clear answer. Today I would like to redeem myself! I want to discuss how physical therapy can help treat pain and improve function, using shoulder pain as an example.

Physical therapists (PTs) are experts in human movement.  PTs are trained at a doctorate level to evaluate and diagnosis musculoskeletal pain.  Using a thorough evaluation on the first physical therapy visit, your PT is able to make an accurate assessment of your condition.  Based on that information, a comprehensive plan of care is developed to first – address the painful area, and second – treat the related underlying weaknesses, restrictions or imbalances in the human body that may be causing your pain.

Shoulder pain is one of the most common conditions treated at the Fit Stop Physical Therapy Heber City location.  We see a variety of shoulder-related issues: from the post-surgical patient to those trying to avoid shoulder surgery. There are also those with sprains and strains from athletics or weight-lifting.  So, how can PT help shoulder pain?

●    First, it provides localized/targeted pain relief by reducing inflammation and/or reducing scar tissue.  This is done with hands-on manual therapy techniques and physical therapy modalities (cold or heat therapy, ultrasound, and electrical shutterstock_166509194stimulation).  PT also analyzes the different movement patterns of the patient to make a plan for behavior modification.  For my father-in-law, this meant altering the tennis serve to prevent aggravation of the shoulder.
●    Second, it corrects underlying shoulder movement impairments (either too much movement or not enough) using manual therapy and therapeutic exercises.  This helps normalize movement and strengthen the overall shoulder, which takes pressure off the affected tissue.
●    Third, once pain and inflammation are under control, a physical therapist will outline a comprehensive home exercise program that will enable the patient to maintain progress and prevent relapses in the future.

There is more and more evidence all the time that indicates that PT should be the primary treatment for musculoskeletal pain.  Again using the shoulder as an example: a recent study reported in the January issue of the Bone and Joint Journal showed that when it comes to non-traumatic rotator cuff tears, PT alone gets similar results as arthroscopic surgery.  PT has also been shown to attain similar results to surgery in treating back pain.

So, at the age of 81, my father-in-law still hits the tennis ball around a bit.  He definitely has to alter his swing to avoid flare-ups, but has been able to manage the pain and avoid surgery by following a conservative treatment approach.  Contact your PT at the Fit Stop today to experience the difference that physical therapy can make in reducing pain, speeding recovery, and returning to normal activity.

Looking for more great advice from the physical therapists at Fit Stop? Here are some more of our most-popular posts:
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Toby Bluth, PT, DPT
Fit Stop Physical Therapy – Heber City
345 West 600 South Suite 200
Heber City, UT 84032
(435) 654-5607

Comments (16)

  1. Pingback: Best Treatment For Rotator Cuff | Fit Stop Physical Therapy

  2. I think physical therapists do really great work. It is just like you explained it. They help you get over the pain and then they help you get back into shape without the pain coming back. I think it is definitely worth the effort to see a physical therapist.

  3. This some really good information about physical therapy. It does seem like a good thing to be aware if you have a lot of pain. I like that you talked about how you should be aware of the fact that they will continue to help you once the inflammation has gone down.

  4. I didn’t realize that physical therapist could help relieve inflammation on a specific area or your body. I can see how this can be useful when recovering from a sport-related injury that requires their services. I would want someone that has the patience to work with this as the recovery could be painful. Thank you for the advice, I will make sure to look for the best person to help me.

  5. I appreciate the information on how physical therapy can benefit you. I agree that one of the best parts about getting physical therapy is that you get treatment that is completely tailored to you and what is hurting you. My sister has been looking into getting physical therapy for some knee pain. I will be sure to share this information with her.

  6. It’s good to know that physical therapy is an effective way to deal with injuries naturally. The body has a wonderful way of helping itself recover. I think physical therapists can help guide the body to do a better job in recovery.

  7. I can see how appropriate movements and routines could reduce swelling. Our bodies are designed to work in ways we don’t always work in. I’ve been wanting to start training for a marathon so I think I may consult a PT to stay healthy.

  8. I appreciate you talking about how a physical therapist is able to treat weaknesses and restriction in the human body. It definitely makes sense why so many doctors recommend you visiting a PT to help regain the strength and mobility of your body. My doctor recommended that I consult with a physical therapist since I had an accident playing basketball a few days ago, so I will put the things in your post to good use as I seek the best PT in my area.

  9. My wife has been having some neck pains lately so we’ve been looking into taking her in for physical therapy to get it looked at. I like that you mention how the first visit is an inspection to help make a plan on how to treat the specific pain. I think it’s smart that they evaluate the situation and make plans instead of just handing you a prescription and sending you away. Thanks for sharing!

  10. It is so great that you mentioned how physical therapy provides targeted pain relief by reducing inflammation and scar tissue. I had no idea that physical therapy targeted pain, just that it helped muscles get stronger. Thank you for the great information that I can take to my sister who has been needing help with her leg pain for a year.

  11. Targeting the source of the pain sounds like a lot better solution than just taking a pain reliever. Scar tissue hurts! I have been running recently and, although some of these tips are shoulder specific, could you do another article about running? Thanks!

  12. Thanks for your post about how you said that a physical therapist should be able to help those that are recovering from surgery. I also like how you said that they should be able to help reduce inflammation as well. My husband and I are looking into short-term physical rehabilitation for him because he hurt his shoulder lifting.

  13. Thanks for pointing out how physical therapy could help my condition. I have been thinking about going to physical therapy because I did something to my knee and it has made going about everyday life difficult. I’ll have to look into where I could go to physical therapy near me so that I can get feeling better.

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