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Physical Therapy for Seniors

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Physical therapy makes use of physical methods like exercises, heat treatment, and massage to treat deformity, injury, or disease rather than surgery or drugs. Physical therapists develop an individualized treatment plan to improve the quality of life as well as make daily task easier for people that have been impaired in one way or another.

Physical therapy is aimed at increasing mobility, reducing pain, as well as restoring overall functionality and independence. It helps treat seniors that have problems (e.g. poor muscle strength and endurance or pain and balance issues) associated with aging. Be it long-term illness or improvement of general mobility and health, physical therapy helps seniors to retain their independence as much as possible.

Types of Senior Physical Therapy

There are different types of senior physical therapy done of which are:

  • Electrical stimulation, where electrical current is used to create desired effects (e.g., scrambling pain signals to cover the feeling of pain) on the body
  • Heat therapy, which is used to relax the muscles before exercise as well as improve blood circulation.
  • Cold therapy, which uses ice packs to relieve swelling and pain
  • Hydrotherapy, where water is used to increase blood flow, treat diseases, as well as heal soft tissues.
  • Manual therapy, where the physical therapist makes use of his or her hands to improve flexibility, reduce pain, and relax the patient through massage or mobilization.

Seniors receive the following benefits from physical therapy:

  • Maintaining or getting back to an active lifestyle: Seniors have better overall health when they are active. Seniors who engage themselves in physical therapy are able to stay active, reducing the risk of problems such as obesity.
  • Physical therapy treats pain without using drugs or undergoing surgery: Research has proved that the use of physical therapy is a more cost-effective way of treating chronic lower back pain. For issues like spinal stenosis, physical therapy is even as effective as surgery.
  • Physical therapy reduces the risk of falling since it improves balance: The leading cause of seniors accident is fall, something that often leads to bone fracture or even a life-threatening injury. However, with the help of physical therapy, the possibility of falling is brought to the barest minimum to help prevent injuries. In physical therapy, seniors are taught balance techniques as well as how they can maintain their stability in relation to gravity.
  • Help with managing cancer treatment: Physical therapy can also assist the seniors in the managing the treatment of cancer. Cancer treatment comes with lots of negative side effects. However, physical therapists can manage these side effects because physical therapy aims at ensuring decreased pain, range of motion, better flexibility, as well as improve the quality of life using patient education, massage, compression therapies, and exercise.
  • Physical therapy alleviates discomfort from arthritis symptoms: The pain seniors have from arthritis can be unbearable. However, physical therapy makes use of techniques and activity modifications to ease these pains. Physical therapy can also prevent future symptoms using exercises that preserve the strength of the joint as well as maintain the use of the joints.
  • Infection prevention: Seniors are more susceptible to infection in bedsores, winds, and cuts especially after any kind of hospitalization. Learning active movement under the guidance of a professional physical therapist can help keep sores from forming or heal existing sores.