A question I get asked often is, “When should I go see a physical therapist? Here are a few questions that may help you with the decision.
Have you been stricken with pain? Is pain restricting or hindering you? Preventing you from enjoying your life and activities? Looking for a non-surgical option with your pain? You should see a physical therapist.
Do you wish you moved around just like when you were younger? Are you are looking to feel and move better without drugs, injections, surgeries? Are there activities and hobbies that you can’t can perform and participate in due to poor movement? You should go see a physical therapist.
A physical therapist should be an essential part of everyone’s healthcare and wellness team. Not only if you are in pain, but if you want to move better and stay that way. If you any of the above questions floating through your mind, please read on.
See A Physical Therapist To Prevent Pain And Maximize Performance
Do you know who this is in the picture below?
How about now?
Need more help? Okay, I will give you a hint (just one though). He is a 7 time Formula 1 Champion!
His name is Lewis Hamilton (the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) of Formula 1 Racing).
Do you know what Lewis Hamilton said was one of central reasons to his success? ‘I couldn’t do it without her’ as Lewis spoke about his personal Physical Therapist, Angela Cullen.
Angela has been with Lewis since 2016. Hamilton explained how he had always struggled without a dedicated physical therapist before Cullen joined him.
Hamilton told f1i.com “And then I started to notice I was having issues every now and then again with small injuries popping up, or you realize you’ve got a neck problem or whatever it might be. And I never had anyone to be able to fix that, and it’s not until after I look back and I’d see Angela.”
Hamilton says Cullen’s contribution has been invaluable over the years, and remains crucial to his well-being and form.
And since most of us not as young nor healthy as Hamilton, don’t you think we should have a physical therapist to keep us healthy should we ‘fall’ into ‘disrepair’, injured, hurting, and in pain? Have a physical therapist to help us back up again onto our feet after a stumble?
Just like Hamilton, we all should have a physical therapist that we can call upon to keep us healthy.
Physical Therapist Can Help You Like No One Else
You may not be the G.O.A.T. of Formula 1 Racing or any sport, or at your athletic club, but, you like to perform at your best every day, whatever that may be. And of course not in pain. The ability to perform at your best, even doing the simplest of daily activities, requires for you to not be in pain.
But don’t you only go to the physical therapist when you are in pain? That’s what the current medical model has you believing. Do you only go see the doctor when you sick? Okay, don’t answer that question.
Aren’t you supposed to have yearly physicals by you doctor to address and prevent possible forthcoming issues? Why aren’t you doing the same with your physical therapist?
Do you think a healthy blood pressure has a significant correlation on how your hip, knee, and ankle joints feel when you get off the floor and climb/descend stairs? You can get down and up off the floor by yourself, correct? If not, go see a physical therapist.
Do you think being within the normal height and weight shows whether you have the mobility and strength to reach up and bring a heavy item down without it breaking you? Remember, what aches and pains you have during the holidays lifting, carrying, and moving all those heavy items?
Your medical doctor gives you a report after ‘reading the signals’ on how your body is doing internally. A physical therapist, ‘The movement specialist’, can give a report on how your body is doing when it comes to…moving. It’s what we ‘see’ and feel daily.
A physical therapist can help you help you with what is not going well and find & prevent what may go wrong. Wouldn’t you like to fix what is ‘broken’ and prevent further problems?
I Currently Only See A Physical Therapist When In Pain
Most people only see a physical therapist only when they are in pain…or in denial and are forced to go to physical therapy by their doctor, a loved one or a family member. No one ever really goes willingly.
As I have always said, “We only rank slightly better (.5 higher, actually) than dentists because we don’t have you open your mouth, stick a power tool in it, and turn it on.”
Physical therapists work their magic on you and over time, without surgery, shots, & drugs, you slowly emerge from your pain fog. You think & rationalize, “No more pain, no more physical therapy!” as a smile suddenly appears on your face.
But wait, physical therapists can do more!
You say, “Why would I go see a physical therapist if I am not in pain?”
I would ask you…”Do you only go see the dentist when you are in pain?”
On second thought – don’t answer that question either.
Please read on…
See A Physical Therapist To Stay Out Of Pain
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth More Than A Pound Of Cure!
Often, physical therapist will not only ‘see’ and find dysfunctional movements, but treat them as well. If these dysfunctions are left untreated, most often they will lead to pain in time. Many pains are preventable.
Wouldn’t you rather not go through the trouble of being in pain, working on getting out pain, only to work on the issue that caused the pain to begin with? Skip the first 2 steps and treat the problem before it becomes a pain. What a brilliant idea!
Go make a friend with a physical therapist, you never know what may happen. Maybe no pain and all normal movement gain?!
What A Physical Therapist Can Do For You
Whether you are healthy or injured, a physical therapist will assess you to determine what you can do proficiently and what dysfunctions needs to be corrected so you become & stay ‘normal” or as “normal as possible”, as your friends and family would say.
To a physical therapist, normal means being able to perform an action or function without pain or compensation. Compensation is when one body part ceases its’ normal action or function to assist another body part so an outcome can be achieved. Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you performed the movement ‘normally’ or ‘optimally.’
Just like a doctor checks for baselines for blood pressure, resting heart rate, height and weight, a physical therapist has baselines as well.
Here are a few baselines that most physical therapist should check during an examination:
✥ Pain: This is abnormal symptoms of discomfort that one reports when in different positions and activities during one’s wakeful day.
✥ Range of Motion: This is exactly what it appears to be. What is the motion a particular joint can move through when the individual moves the joint (active Range of Motion) versus when the physical therapist does it (passive Range of Motion). There are functional norms for all joints. How well is your active & passive range of motion?
✥ Flexibility: This is the extensibility of your soft tissues (ie. muscles and tendons). Poor flexibility can limit your range of motion. When people think of stretching this is what they are trying to improve – their flexibility.
✥ Strength: This is a measurement of how well one can generate a force. But strength isn’t like how much you can bench press or arm curl. A physical therapist looks at and compares strength from your left to right, front to back, and agonist vs antagonist (aka opposing muscles like quadriceps vs hamstring).
✥ Function: This is taking the previous Big Three, (Range of Motion, Flexibility, & Strength), and see how the body reacts when you perform a daily activity. For instance it can range from rolling over, getting up from a lying down or sitting position, getting off the floor, climbing or descending stairs, or as simple as walking.
As I always say…”Just because a check engine light isn’t on, doesn’t mean the car will drive well!” See a physical therapist and get a ‘report card’ on how you move!
Wrap Up – With or Without Pain, A Physical Therapist Can Help You
If you have been battling, worse yet – ignoring, a nagging pain (whether recent or old), and/or don’t move well, do what the professionals do – see a physical therapist.
Pain and poor movement is a common occurrence in today’s environment, yet, many ignore it until it is too severe and is disrupting one’s daily life. Don’t wait till it gets that ‘bad’! Enjoy everyday feeling and moving well and engage & participate In Life.
Here a few points to be reviewed:
✓ Most great athletes have a physical therapist keeping them great!
✓ A physical therapy evaluation looks not only at pain/symptoms, but your movement as well – a key in being non-sedentary.
✓ If you have pain, don’t delay seeing a physical therapist. Waiting may make the pain go away in the short term. But most often, it comes back worse. Research has shown this.
✓ Finally, if your pain has stopped via physical therapy intervention, don’t stop physical therapy. Treat the pain AND dysfunction.
We Have The ‘Best’ For You. It’s Physical Therapy!
Our mission at PEAK Physical Therapy is to make people better! Actually, more better! Every day, we treat individuals, just like you. From people who just woke up with pain recently all the way to those who have been battling with pain for a very, very long time. You don’t have to suffer.
Whether you need help with a diagnosis, functional medical advice, or want a second, third or more functional medical opinion, remember we are always here to help you.
Don’t delay, appointments times are limited. We have 2 convenient locations to serve your physical therapy needs.
If you want to live an Active, Independent, Dynamic, & Enjoyable Life without neck pain – Choose Physical Therapy. And, If You Need Physical Therapy and You Want Your Health To Last…Choose PEAK PT FIRST!™
Until We Chat Again… Be & Stay Well!
Sasha Digges PT, ATC, CSCS
Senior PhysioTherapist & Clinical Director
We’re nearby to help with you with your physical therapy…
If you’re in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some pain relief help, an evaluation, or if you are looking for physical therapy treatment, remember we are always here to help you.
If you would like to speak with a Physical Therapist, schedule a Meet & Greet or a physical therapy evaluation, please click here to complete our Contact Us Form or CALL us at 757-564-7381.
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