The Importance of Physical Therapy for Seniors

The Importance of Physical Therapy for Seniors

As you grow old, you can experience more pain and are vulnerable to more injuries. Physical therapy can help relieve pain and restore physical functions such as flexibility, strength, balance, and coordination. Some of the physical therapy treatments that can be used are stretching, walking, massage, hydrotherapy, and electrical stimulation. These are less impactful and do not require hard physical activity. The goal of physical therapy for seniors is to help them make daily tasks and activities easier. That also includes making them independent.

Physical Therapists:

They diagnose and treat everyone from newborns to seniors who have medical problems. Their goal is to develop a plan with their patient using a variety of treatment methods to increase a person’s movement, reduce pain, and restore all functions of the body. These treatments involve exercise and different movements.

Types of Physical Therapy:

  • Manual therapy: this is performed by the hands of the therapist to relax the patient, reduce pain, and provide more flexibility. This involves massaging the body’s soft tissues to improve circulation and relieve pain. Mobilization is the use of slow movements to twist and pull joints and bones into place. Manipulation uses fast, forceful movements to relieve pain and re-align bones and joints.
  • Cold therapy: this is used relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation. The treatment involves ice packs, ice massage, and compression.
  • Heat therapy: this loosen the muscles and improves blood circulation which is great for loosening stiff joints.
  • Hydrotherapy: this is a type of water therapy that can heal soft tissues, improve blood flow, and relax the entire body.
  • Electrical stimulation: using an electrical current to help with pain. It contracts muscles to relieve pain and loosen any tight joints or muscles.
  • Ultrasound: this uses high-pitched sound waves to reduce muscle spasms and relax the muscles.

Specific conditions found in seniors:

Physical therapy can be used to help patients with a variety of diseases and medical conditions. Most people over 65 have a variety of medical conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, etc. As well as treating these medical conditions, physical therapy can also help offset future symptoms with a variety of treatments such as aquatic exercises, hot packs, and electrical stimulation.

  • Stroke patients: constraint-induced movement therapy is used. That is where you are forced to use your weaker body part. Mental practice involves rehearsing the movements without doing it. This can help stimulate the part of your brain that controls movement to help improve functionality.
  • Arthritis patients: specific treatments used by physical therapists can help reduce pain and offset any future pain that may come.
  • Parkinson’s patients: to help treat this disease, patients are told to preform exercises that improve trunk flexibility to avoid any robotic movements that the disease produces.
  • Incontinence patients: they are taught how to find the right muscles and use them correctly. An example of a treatment that physical therapists could use is exercising the pelvic muscle to strengthen it and control the bladder.
  • Alzheimer’s patients: using exercise can help improve memory. They also use a technique called “mirroring” where the physical therapist serves as a mirror to show the patient how to move.

Physical therapy for seniors can help their health in every way and prevent future health care issues. These are non-invasive treatments that go with what you can handle. If you are a senior and recovering from an illness or injury visit Gonzaba Medical Group in San Antonio. Our staff in our physical medicine and rehabilitation program are committed to providing patients with safe and effective treatments. Our staff will develop a patient plan that is individually designed just for you! The physical therapists offer home exercise programs, ergonomics education, back safety and lifting education, functional capacity evaluations, and work conditioning programs. Learn more by visiting our website. We have multiple locations and make sure to check if the location you choose has our physical therapy pr

National Physical Therapy Month

National Physical Therapy Month

Physical therapy is used to treat people of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform activities in their daily lives. This month, it is National Physical Therapy Month. We would like to recognize all the health physical therapist’s provide for people that need it. Here is some information on what the physical therapy profession is all about:

Role of a Physical Therapist:

Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques that will promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore functions, and prevent disability. Also, physical therapists work with people to avoid the loss of mobility before it even occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for more active and healthier lifestyles. They provide the care for people in a variety of different places including hospitals, private practices, outpatient clinics, home health agencies, schools, sports and fitness facilities, work settings, and nursing homes. A state license is required in each state in which the physical therapist practices.

The Physical Therapy Job:

It is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical and scientific base. It uses a widespread of clinical practices in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of physical function. They take on leadership roles within professional and community organizations that promote rehabilitation, prevention, health maintenance, fitness, and wellness. They also play a crucial role both in developing standards for physical therapist practice and in improving healthcare policies to ensure availability, accessibility, and optimal delivery of health care services. Physical therapy is covered by federal, state, and private insurance plans. As clinicians, physical therapists engage in an examination process that includes taking the patient/client history, conducting a systems review, and performing tests that measure to identify potential and existing problems.

Establishing Diagnoses:

To develop plans of care, prognoses, and diagnoses, physical therapists perform evaluations, synthesizing the examination of data, and determining whether the problems to be addressed are within the scope of physical therapy. Based on the physical therapists’ judgments and the patient goals, they provide interventions (the interactions and procedures used in managing and instructing patients), conduct re-examinations, modify interventions as necessary to achieve anticipated goals and expected outcomes, and develop and implement discharge plans.

Educational Requirements for becoming a Physical Therapist

They must receive a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure exam that allows them to practice. They have the most specialized education to help people restore and improve motion. Today, physical therapists are required to complete a graduate degree, either a masters or clinical doctorate from an accredited education program. A growing majority of programs offer the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. Currently, 199 colleges and universities nationwide support 212 approved professional physical therapy education programs. Now, 96% offer the DPT.

Licensure Requirements for becoming a Physical Therapist

After graduation, candidates must pass a state-administered national exam. Other requirements for physical therapy practice vary from state to state. It depends on the state regulations governing physical therapy.

Employment Outlook for Physical Therapy

There is a high demand for physical therapists in the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for physical therapists is expected to grow by 36% between the years 2012-2022. It is much faster than the average for other occupations. The high demand depends on different states and area of practice, but the unemployment rates are low across the whole country. The need for physical therapy is expected to stay strong in the foreseeable feature as the U.S. population grows and ages, which leads the demand for physical therapy services to keep on growing.

At Gonzaba in San Antonio, our primary care services offer physical therapy. It is compromised by preventative and wellness care. We understand that physical therapy is vital in protecting health and preventing any health conditions that can affect motor functions. Visit our website or one of our locations to see how physical therapy can help you.

6 Benefits of Physical Therapy | Gonzaba Medical Group

There are many different reasons that your primary care physician might refer you to a physical therapist, just like there are many types of physical therapy. There are therapists that specialize in certain areas like geriatrics, cardiovascular, vestibular therapy, and many others. Seeing a specialized physical therapist has many benefits and can often resolve or manage your pain in instances your primary care physician cannot.

  • Pain Relief. Physical therapists are trained in the art of massage therapy. This is not the type of massage that you receive at a spa in that the therapist focuses on reducing tightness in the muscles and encourages mobility of the body. These exercises are used to encourage the restoration of the body part that has been injured.
  • Removal of Tension. Not only do physical therapists aid in the mobility of the body- they also offer relief for health conditions that are not typically associated with rehabilitation. Physical therapists, or PTs, can release tension in the body and reduce the frequency and severity of headaches, dizziness, and even jaw pain.
  • Improved Circulation. Physical Therapists can help those with poor blood circulation by creating exercises that increase blood flow. Typically, they work with patients suffering from diabetes, however, these techniques can be used by anyone with poor circulation in the body.
  • Relief from Arthritis. Some of the more common conditions that physical therapy can assist with are arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. While the therapy is not a cure for these ailments, it can help reduce the amount of pain felt for those suffering from arthritis or carpal tunnel. They can provide the patient with simple and easy exercises to be done at home that offers pain relief and function of the affected area.
  • Avoided Surgery. There are times, mainly after an injury, that a doctor might recommend a physical therapist as an alternative to surgery. They can alleviate the pain felt from an injury and assist in making sure the injury heals properly without needing surgery. Even in cases where therapy does not help, the practice can help make the tissue and muscles around the area stronger in preparation for a procedure.
  • Improved Balance. In cases where a patient has had surgery and was bedridden or needs assistance learning how to walk, physical therapists are the key. They assist in improving coordination and balance through small carefully planned maneuvers. The process recreates real-life situations and helps improve the way they walk.

Physical therapists are very versatile in the different types of conditions they treat. They also work in a wide variety of settings, from outpatient and private clinics to hospitals, schools, and even emergency rooms. No matter what type of therapy you need, all therapists are there to help with returning normal function to the body. If you need a physical therapist in San Antonio or want to know more about the practice, contact us at Gonzaba Medical Group. Our doctors, physicians, and therapists are always here to help you.