Barbara Fradkin – FLORIDA TODAY
Q: My doctor prescribed physical therapy for me. Does it really make a difference?
A: Everyone is familiar with the need for physical therapy after a sports injury or some types of surgery. But regular physical therapy sessions prescribed by your doctor can also have a positive impact on your ability to age well. The goal of physical therapy is to help restore and improve functionality, reduce pain, and increase mobility for endurance, stamina, and balance.
Balance is extremely important as we age. Falls are more prevalent in older adults and can have negative life-changing effects –or even be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four seniors fall each year in the United States! That’s thirty million falls each year, resulting in about 30,000 deaths. Three million older adults are treated annually for a fall injury and can benefit from physical therapy.
The American Physical Therapy Association is shouting from the rooftops that physical therapy is a safe, effective alternative route to medication such as opioids for treatment of chronic pain conditions. It plays a role in preventative care, rehabilitation and treatment for people with chronic conditions, illnesses, or injuries. Orthopedic issues (hips, knees, shoulders, back) also benefit from physical therapy. Some chronic conditions that can benefit include neurological conditions such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, vestibular dysfunction (vertigo), and traumatic brain injuries. All programs are individualized for each person.
Physical therapists that work with Parkinson’s patients undergo training PWR (Parkinson Wellness Recovery) certification. This program is specifically designed to use exercise for symptom management, targeting four skills that impact everyday mobility (tall posture, weight shifting, trunk mobility and stepping).
Physical therapists are a wonder. Two of my favorite therapists from Aquatic Health and Rehabilitation in Viera explain what motivates them.
Adam Rhoads, MSPT, CLT states, “The human body is wondrous and complex. As a physical therapist, I work with patients who are having difficulty performing daily tasks and help them to improve and get back to where they want to be. This is not only great for the patient, but incredibly rewarding for me.”
And Nicole Knights PT, DPT says,” I love being a physical therapist. Every day I get to help people with all kinds of diagnoses achieve their goals and get results that change their lives.”
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. To submit a question, send an email to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com. Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director for One Senior Place, Viera.