Physical therapy isn’t only for post-injury rehab — it can also help you boost flexibility and avoid injury in the first place.
If you’ve ever suffered a sports injury or undergone orthopedic surgery, you know how beneficial physical therapy is during your road to recovery. As a treatment, it helps heal your injured joints and muscles, and enables you to return to your favorite workouts pain-free.
Yet physical therapy serves as more than just a post-injury rehabilitation program. For dedicated athletes and workout enthusiasts, physical therapy can be a proactive way to stay healthy and avoid future injuries. In fact, regular visits to a physical therapist may be as important to your overall health as your annual check-up with your internist.
Why Physical Therapy is Good for You
You don’t have to wait until your joints ache to make an appointment with a physical therapist. Here are seven lesser-known benefits of undergoing physical therapy:
- Physical Therapy Boosts Circulation. PT exercises that focus on stretching muscles have the added benefit of boosting circulation. These exercises cause the blood vessels to widen, distributing oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Better circulation also helps you recover faster so you’re less sore after a workout.
- It Loosens Tense Muscles. Stretching also loosens tense, painful muscles. A physical therapist can show you proper stretching techniques that will make for a pain-free workout. More importantly, relaxed muscles are less prone to injury.
- Physical Therapy Improves Posture. Many orthopedic injuries occur due to poor posture. Here again, a physical therapist can assess your posture and teach you how to properly align your spine in order to avoid neck and back pain.
- It Teaches Proper Workout Techniques. Whatever workout routine you prefer, you should follow the correct posture and positioning — or risk damaging muscles, tendons, and joints. A physical therapist can educate you on how to move your body throughout your workout to avoid an injury.
- It Enhances Your Sense of Balance. Particularly after an injury, you may feel your sense of balance is off, which could lead to falls. Physical therapy equips you with exercises and other tips to improve your balance and coordination.
- Physical Therapy Increases Flexibility. To obtain the maximum benefits from exercise, your joints and limbs should have their full range of motion. Stretching exercises keep your joints and muscles flexible, preventing injuries that can result from a limited range of motion.
- It Prevents Future Injuries. For all the above reasons, working with a physical therapist is a proactive way to prevent injuries. When your body is strong and flexible and you practice correct exercise techniques, you greatly lower your risk of injury. You also prevent any existing injuries from progressing into more serious disorders.
While physical therapy is useful in preventing and treating many kinds of injuries, surgery may still be required in some cases. Fortunately, physical therapy before — and after — surgery makes for a quicker and more complete recovery.
Do You Need Physical Therapy?
The staff at New York Bone & Joint Specialists — and our subsidiary All Sports Physical Therapy — includes expert physical therapists who can help patients recover from a variety of orthopedic injuries. We also provide physical therapy to patients who want to improve their flexibility, strength, and overall well-being.