Written by: Jayne Armondo, MSPT, ATC, NCTMB
Who do you see to help keep your body in top form? Maybe you’ve tried a personal trainer or a chiropractor, but have you ever tried physical therapy? A physical therapist can provide you with an insight into your own body like no other healthcare professional. Read on for the top five things physical therapists want you to know.
Your Body Loves to Move!
Don’t get stuck in a rut - our bodies are designed to move in many different positions. Often we get into habits and routines that make us too strong in some areas and too weak in others. This creates imbalance in our muscles and joints and can set us up for injuries down the road. Our bodies need variety! We need to move forward, backward, side to side and rotate. Whether you sit at a desk, take care of a family, or participate in sports, your daily activities and exercises should incorporate all of these movements to keep your body in balance. A physical therapist can assess your ability to be successful in every direction of movement.
The Body Part in Pain May Not Be Your Problem
Do you have an ache in your foot, knee, elbow, shoulder, neck or back? The cause of that pain could be something else in your body. Pain can occur when muscles and joints try to do more work because of tightness or weakness somewhere else in the body. These muscles and joints might also be in a poor position to work because of that tightness and weakness. For example, hip weakness could contribute to pain in your foot, knee or back while a weak shoulder blade may cause pain in your wrist, elbow or neck. A licensed physical therapist can look at the whole body and see if it is working correctly. They can help you make the changes needed to reduce your pain.
Balance Can Prevent Injury
No matter what age you are, working on your balance can make a big difference. It is the best injury prevention tool out there and will have the greatest return on investment now and in your later years. Good balance reduces your risk for falls and stumbles; it improves your movement patterns to reduce repetitive injury risk; and improves your athletic performance and power. Balance can be affected by a number of things: vision, your inner ear, sensation in extremities, position of your body, and strength. There are a number of tests that a physical therapist can do to check your balance. After a full evaluation, a therapist will help you build strength and improve your overall balance.
You Have a Choice!
In the age of changing healthcare, it is important to know your resources. Keeping good health is a big deal. A physical therapist can be an essential part of your health care team. To see a physical therapist, the state of Illinois requires you to have a prescription from a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or chiropractor. Once you receive that prescription, you have the right to choose your physical therapist!
When looking for a physical therapist, it’s important to see what your local clinics offer. Before choosing a physical therapist, don’t be afraid to ask some questions: Do they work with your specific issue? Will you be treated only by a licensed physical therapist during your care? Do they look at the body as a whole or only treat the injured area? Will you be scheduled with the same physical therapist each visit? Be your own healthcare advocate and find out if your physical therapist can give you the treatment you need and deserve.
Physical Therapists are Experts in How Your Body Moves
The education to become a physical therapist includes extensive training in the relationships between your muscles, joints, and the way the brain controls movement from birth until our senior years. Physical therapists have an undergraduate degree and are required to earn a masters or clinical doctorate in physical therapy. There are specialties for certain populations but every physical therapist is required to have training in all aspects of the muscles, joints, neurological, and skeletal systems and how they work. Physical therapists are experts in injury prevention and can be an outstanding wellness resource.
Physical therapists check your body by watching how you walk, bend, and move; by feeling different muscles, and by taking you through different tests to see how your muscles and joints move together. They look at how your body moves during different tasks, and determine what is working and what is not working. Physical therapists then develop individualized treatment and exercises plans to allow you to do what you need to do. They work closely with you to address your needs for your everyday work, sports, or recreational demands in addition to working with your doctor to promote your best health.
Jayne Armondo, MSPT, ATC, NCTMB is a licensed physical therapist in the state of Illinos. For the last 11 years she has practiced at Creative Rehab in Gurnee and Libertyville. She has extensive experience working with athletes and has advanced training in the thoracic spine, TMJ, vestibular and balance issues. Her philosophy of care is very functionally and educationally based, facilitating her patients’ bodies to be successful with all movements and activities. She works to educate each patient to understand their injury or issue, and to empower each patient to know their body and what works to make them better and keep them well. You can email Jayne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creative Rehab is a physical therapist owned clinic with locations in Gurnee and Libertyville. It is an outpatient based facility staffed only by licensed physical therapists. The therapists at Creative Rehab specialize in customized and functional treatment and offer specialty programs in orthopedic rehab, oncology, dance, TMJ, vestibular, and aquatic rehabilitation. Creative Rehab’s therapists have extensive experience working with chronic and autoimmune disorders, post-surgical rehab, sports injuries, work injuries and work conditioning. In addition to its therapy services, Creative Rehab also offers therapeutic massage and community and corporate education programs. For more information: www.creativerehab.net