8 surprising reasons you may need physical therapy.

by Jared Miller, PT, DPT
May 1, 2020

When you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, it’s common to see a physical therapist who can help you regain function and restore motion in your body. But did you know that there are many other reasons why you may need physical therapy (PT), even if you aren’t an athlete or bouncing back from an operation?

Did you know there are many other benefits of #PhysicalTherapy other than recovery after injury or surgery? Physical therapist Jared Miller shares 8 ways PT can help #TreatPeople on the #LiveWellHealthy blog: https://bit.ly/2YkOogZ

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A physical therapist is a healthcare specialist who can treat many lesser-known conditions beyond just sports-related injuries or post-operative therapy. They can provide evaluation and treatment in the clinic or often-times via video visit. Here are eight surprising reasons you may need physical therapy.

1. Pelvic floor conditions.

The pelvic floor consists of muscles and tissues that help men and women maintain correct posture as well as bladder, bowel, and sexual activity. When pelvic floor muscles are overused or injured, you may experience pain, incontinence, or other symptoms related to pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD). While it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of pelvic problems, most frequently PFD occurs after childbirth, infection, injury, or trauma to the pelvis.

Many people are surprised to know pelvic floor conditions can be diagnosed and treated by a physical therapist with advanced training in pelvic floor therapy. A pelvic floor specialist can help with the following:

  • Endometriosis
  • Menopause symptoms
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pregnancy and postpartum recovery
  • Urinary incontinence

Although common, pelvic pain is not normal. If you’re experiencing pelvic pain, sexual dysfunction, or incontinence, a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor therapy can help.

2. Cervicogenic headaches.

If you’ve experienced an ache that works its way from the base of your neck and up your head, then you know what it feels like to have a cervicogenic headache. Fortunately, a physical therapist may be able to provide relief through manual therapy and mobilization techniques that target tight neck muscles and restore motion. By releasing tension around the head and neck, many physical therapists are able to reduce or eliminate cervicogenic headaches. Most importantly, a physical therapist can address the cause of them and help you prevent them from coming back.

3. Jaw pain.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, called TMD, is a common cause of jaw pain that often results from poor posture and stress. If you have TMD, a physical therapist with advanced training in TMD can use manual therapy and targeted exercises to relieve pain and other symptoms from TMD, such as dizziness or trouble opening and closing the mouth. They can also help you improve your posture and positioning, especially for work-related activities that often worsen TMD symptoms.

4. Vertigo.

If you suffer from a false spinning sensation or dizziness, commonly known as vertigo, a physical therapist may be able to help. Often, vertigo is caused by something called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) which occurs when tiny calcium particles are dislodged in the inner ear. A physical therapist with specialized training in vestibular therapy can easily diagnose and correct BPPV using the Dix-Hallpike test and the canalith repositioning maneuver (CRM). This generally corrects the positioning, relieving vertigo and associated symptoms, such as nausea and pain.

5. Balance issues.

Watching people fall on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” may be cause for laughter, but the reality is that falls can be serious, especially as we age. That’s why physical therapy can play an important role in helping improve your balance and reduce your chances of fall-related injury. Whether you’re recovering from a stroke or taking preventative measures against falling, you may benefit from a fun, interactive balance program that will minimize your risk of falling and help you build confidence in your ability to move around safely.

6. Rehabilitation after heart disease.

If you’ve survived a heart attack or your heart has been weakened from coronary artery disease, cardiac rehabilitation is a critical part of recovery and getting you back to the activities you enjoy. During cardiac rehabilitation, you’ll work with a physical therapist to strengthen your heart, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and return to a high quality of life. Your plan will be tailored to your unique needs and goals so that when physical therapy is over, you’re prepared and motivated to maintain your healthy lifestyle.

7. Arthritis.

When you find that you’re having a harder time doing things you used to because of a loss of function or pain caused by arthritis, a physical therapist can help your body to get moving again. By strengthening the muscles surrounding the joints affected by arthritis, physical therapy can increase your mobility and strength, which improves your ability to participate in daily activities with fewer limits.

8. General pain.

If you’re living with body aches, especially before and after movement, a physical therapist may help you get moving again with less pain. Some people think that pain is normal as you age, but a physical therapist can help to relieve and maybe even eliminate your pain. Whether your knees hurt after squatting or you have lower back pain, physical therapy can help you regain strength and restore range of motion in the muscles affected by your pain. A trained physical therapist can also help retrain how you move to minimize pain in the future.

Do you need physical therapy?

If you could benefit from physical therapy, here’s what you need to know before you make an appointment.

  • Insurance coverage. In many cases, physical therapy is covered by major insurance plans. During COVID-19, most insurance providers are covering video visits for physical therapy. MedStar Health Physical Therapy can help you determine your coverage options.
  • Physician referral. Some insurance providers require a physician referral for physical therapy. If you do not have one, we are happy to arrange a convenient video visit with a MedStar Health physician specialist, at no cost to you.
  • Decide on your goals. A physical therapist will help you determine what your goals are but it’s helpful to prepare ahead of time so that they can design a PT program that helps you get where you want to be.
  • Find the right physical therapist. Not all physical therapists are trained to treat every condition, so it’s important to find one who has specialized education and experience in an area related to your needs. MedStar Health will pair you up with a therapist who specializes in the care you need.

In need of physical therapy?
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Category: Living Well     Tags: healthinjuryMedStar HealthMedStar Health Video VisitsPhysical Therapy