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The Importance of Physical Therapy for Older Adults

Physical Therapy for Seniors

As you age, your muscles and joints lose strength and stability, which could impact your ability to maintain an independent lifestyle and manage chronic pain. Physical therapy for seniors helps Elders reach their full potential after injury, surgery or while managing symptoms from ongoing health conditions.

Learn the basics of physical therapy and find out how Oaks Senior Living can help you get back to doing the activities you love as pain free as possible.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a noninvasive medical treatment used to restore functional mobility required to complete body movements essential to a high-quality life, such as standing, walking and comfortably moving other body parts, like your shoulders.

It’s an effective treatment for chronic pain, movement dysfunction or limited mobility resulting from injuries, surgeries or ongoing health issues, like arthritis or multiple sclerosis.

In order to help you regain maximum functional mobility and maintain an independent lifestyle, physical therapists are trained to evaluate and treat your condition using a variety of personalized treatments and techniques.

Some conditions that could benefit from physical therapy include:

  • Cardiopulmonary conditions
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger
  • Diabetes and vascular conditions
  • Musculoskeletal dysfunction, including back pain, rotator cuff tears and joint disorders
  • Neurological conditions, like stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and vestibular dysfunction
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction, including urinary incontinence

While physical therapy for seniors treats a variety of health conditions, the only way to know for sure is by speaking with your doctor and getting a referral to a therapist who is trained to specifically provide care for your health concerns.

What to Expect in Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for seniors includes several treatments to help you move and feel better, like massage, and heat and cold therapies. Many physical therapists also like to use electrical muscle stimulation to help control chronic pain and increase muscle strength.

However, most of your time will be spent learning exercises to increase your strength and flexibility, improve your range of motion and help you get back to the activities you enjoy. Depending on your condition and comfort level, some exercises will be guided by a physical therapist and others you’ll do on your own.

Here are a few examples of common exercises and stretches to expect in physical therapy:

  • Hamstring stretches
  • Standing on one leg
  • Toe touches
  • Leg lifts from a seated position
  • Low-impact aerobic training
  • Flexion and extension movements for the knees and hips

Many physical therapists provide manual therapy for seniors which involves using their hands to relieve pain and improve mobility by using joint mobilization techniques and soft tissue massage.

Physical therapy isn’t painful. However, because you’ll be using parts of your body that are injured or have chronic pain, you may find it challenging. Your therapist at Oaks Senior Living will always make sure you’re comfortable, safe and always moving toward your goals.

Physical Therapy Has an Abundance of Benefits

Though physical therapy for seniors typically includes low-impact exercises, it still provides big benefits. From promoting independence to managing chronic pain, take a look at how you can benefit from physical therapy at Oaks Senior Living:

Promotes independence. The goal of physical therapy is to help you return to your favorite activities or perform daily tasks as pain-free as possible. By learning techniques that promote independence, you can confidently do things like prepare meals, walk your dog or play with your grandkids.

Prevents falls and injuries. Physical therapy can be both corrective and preventive, because techniques and treatments often improve gait strength and balance. This leads to a decreased risk of falls and fall-related injuries.

Manage certain health conditions. Physical therapy can help Elders manage tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease, help those with multiple sclerosis maintain their balance, improve several symptoms of fibromyalgia, improve bone strength and decrease bone loss from osteoporosis, and help Elders who’ve  had a stroke regain mobility.

Manages pain. Prescription medications aim to stop pain quickly or temporarily. Physical therapy helps you manage pain over time and for the long-term, so you can avoid medications that may come with unwanted side effects. Better management of chronic pain also leads to improved sleep quality.

Speeds up recovery. Physical therapy for seniors can reduce recovery time after surgery because it improves circulation, reduces inflammation, decreases swelling and improves your mood. Physical therapists also motivate you to keep with the program, which aids in regaining your strength and mobility at a faster pace.

Peace of mind. Knowing you have a plan of action to regain an independent lifestyle after injury or surgery and a physical therapist to help safely recover can give you peace of mind, decrease your stress levels and improve your mood.

Discover What Physical Therapy Can Do for You at Oaks Senior Living

To learn more about how you can benefit from physical therapy services in a vibrant, life-affirming environment where each person matters and everyone has opportunities for growth, regardless of age or abilities, contact Oaks Senior Living online or call 770-796-5871. We’ll be in touch shortly!

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