5 Things your Physical Therapist wants you to know

1. Skilled physical therapy is much more than having you complete a generic list of exercises on your own.

After completing a thorough examination of your body, your physical therapist prescribes a specific program to address your specific impairments and goals. Each exercise or treatment technique is prescribed based on the latest research findings shown to effectively treat your problem. Also, the expertise of your physical therapist is important in ensuring you are activating the correct muscles; most patients tend to use compensatory strategies to complete the exercise which will actually worsen your problem instead of resolve it.

2. Your "treatment" does not end when you complete your physical therapy program. 

We always emphasize the importance of ongoing regular exercise, neutral posturing, maintaining a strong yet flexible body and general good health habits. You will need to maintain the gains you made during treatment with an ongoing exercise program. Maintenance of muscle strength requires bringing your muscles to fatigue at least one time per week; for additional gains, you need to fatigue your muscles two to three times per week.  In addition, a balance of cardiovascular exercise (walking/biking/swimming/etc.), stretching and even relaxation techniques are recommended on a daily basis.  Discover which physical activities you enjoy most and make it a way of life!

3. Pain is most often due to accumulating trauma that has developed over the years.

Most of my patients enter with a painful body part without any known reason or trauma. This is usually a sign of "micro-trauma" that began years or even decades ago due to repetitive movements that are faulty, poor posture, poor form with exercise, too little activity or too much activity. Physical therapists are trained in identifying these faulty movement patterns, correcting them and teaching you new ways to move. With practice, this results in less stress and strain on your joints and muscles and reduced or no pain when you move!

4. Physical therapy is an effective conservative treatment to consider before pain medication and surgery in most cases.

With the opioid epidemic upon us, I can't emphasize this point enough!  We empower our patients with pain relieving strategies and treatments that have no harmful side effects.  We can prescribe a comprehensive program to replace pain medication and possibly avoid more invasive procedures, like surgeries.

5. We want to be your physical therapist for life!

Let's face it. We are all aging and none of us can escape the negative effects that gravity has on our bodies over time. By the time we are adults, most of us have to deal with arthritis, old or new injuries, muscle tension, weakness, stiffness, balance problems, and other conditions that begin to impact our daily lives.  When your symptoms begin to increase or persist more than a couple days or weeks, it is time to come back in for an examination.  Whether it is a similar problem that you need to re-address or something completely new, think physical therapy first!

To get started with a skilled physical therapist, click here to find a Penn Therapy & Fitness location closest to you!

About the Blogger:

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Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS obtained her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Arcadia University in 2002, and was the co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy before becoming Site Manager for Penn Therapy & Fitness Conshohocken in 2016. She is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and has taken extensive continuing education courses in maitland australian physiotherapy, myofascial release,pain management,evidence based treatments for spine/SI/pelvis, knee, ankle, foot and shoulder disorders,vestibular rehabilitation, strength and conditioning,running injuries and chronic pain.