This type of therapy can work wonders for people of all ages and health conditions, whether they’re trying to heal from specific recent or past injuries or even trying to deal with some of the general physical stresses that may come with aging, health conditions or even major illnesses.
Among the services available from Above and Beyond Home Health Care is physical therapy from a talented and skilled group of therapists as well as a group of physical therapy assistants. They can put together a customized therapy plan for individual patients which can help them regain or improve their strength and flexibility as well as reducing any pain they may be feeling.
Whether this therapy is offered by itself or part of a larger plan of other therapeutic services, physical therapy can go a long way of improving someone’s quality of life – they’ll likely have more energy and less pain, which are both two things that are appreciated, no matter their age or condition.
While physical therapy can generally be useful, there are occasions when patients may not receive the full benefits.
- Poor communication. Physical therapists base a lot of their plan of action on what their patient tells them, such as their relevant medical history, where the strongest areas of pain are located, and how much pain they’re experiencing. Knowing this information will help the therapist figure out where to start first and what tools or techniques they should try. But if someone tells the therapist the wrong spot or downplays the degree of pain, it could make things difficult for the therapist to know where to begin. The patient may not be lying but simply may be falling into the habit of not wanting to complain or show weakness.
- Trying to make any treatment only feel good. While good physical therapy shouldn’t hurt, there likely will be some moments of stretching that produce minor discomfort and stiffness as the body re-aligns itself or old injuries and trauma are noticed. Some minor soreness is expected but the longer the therapy occurs, the less pain someone will have overall. So a therapist may need to poke, prod or bend, they wouldn’t be effective therapists if they only performed light touches. Their extensive therapy training taught them appropriate ways to touch and manipulate people’s limbs. Consumer Reports said that some therapists who aren’t familiar with a senior patient may often recommend weights or offer “wimpy” workouts that are too light to accomplish anything. The reason that many seniors want or need physical therapy is to improve strength so they may want something heavier.
- Too much pain. Some aches and soreness are expected as muscles and bones are pushed and pulled in new and different ways to promote flexibility and a larger range of muscles. But a patient may feel extreme pain from a recent injury or health condition and not be able to relax completely to feel the benefits. At the same time, a physical therapist may not want to touch certain areas that have experienced recent trauma, especially sensitive or have a fresh wound. Physical therapy may not be as relaxing as massage therapy by nature but strong pain can definitely put a damper on things. The patient may need permission from a health care provider to begin certain types of physical therapy.
- Need other therapy. While physical therapy is useful for general quality of life someone may benefit more from specific exercises and therapies at certain points in time. For instance, massage therapy may help sore muscles first. Or occupational therapy may help with specific skills to help someone be more mobile and independent, including getting in and out of bed, using the bathroom safely or walking down the hall. Based on input from caregivers, family members or health providers, these skills may take priority or be offered in the same timeframe.
- Lack of interest. Just like any activity, you get more benefits out of something if you’re excited about it. Although any physical therapy is useful, someone who doesn’t want to participate will have a difficult time fully enjoying all the benefits. They also may not do some of the suggested exercises that can be done on their own between sessions, which further limit any results. This low interest and poor self-motivation may be due to depression, which isn’t uncommon for some seniors who are unhappy with their current situation. A healthcare provider can be notified and discuss if there are some possible options to help boost the patient’s mental health and get them interested in the benefits.
Help is available
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care will be happy to work with patients, family members and caregivers to come up with recommendations for physical therapy or other appropriate services to help improve their quality of life.