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You’re probably aware that breast cancer awareness is a crucial October theme, but did you know that it’s also National Physical Therapy Month? The purpose of this month-long campaign is to raise awareness of physical therapists and physical therapy assistants and the vital role that they play in helping patients achieve pain relief, improve their mobility, and live healthier, more active lives. It’s important to recognize the benefits of physical therapy and its ability to enhance a person’s quality of life. Physical therapy can help people of all ages with a wide range of injuries, illnesses, or conditions. As a conservative, non-invasive treatment, it is often the first thing doctors recommend. Here are four ways it could help you.

Physical therapy can reduce pain

One of the most important benefits of physical therapy is pain reduction – or in some cases, elimination. The therapeutic exercises patients perform as well as manual therapy techniques, and treatments such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, taping, or soft tissue mobilization can do a lot to relieve pain and discomfort and restore joint and muscle function – both of which are also important to pain relief. Another important goal of physical therapy is to not only relieve pain but also prevent it from returning. Patients learn things such as correct form and helpful exercises that help keep them healthy, strong, and pain-free over time.

By helping you avoid surgery

Many people who have access to physical therapy find that it reduces their pain and helps them heal effectively enough that they do not need surgery. Furthermore, even in patients who do still require surgery, physical therapy beforehand can help them recover faster and with less pain. Going into surgery in better physical condition can increase your odds of recuperating quickly and without complications. 

By helping you recover from an injury or illness

Many people who get physical therapy have suffered sports injuries or other disorders. If you have sustained an injury playing sports, your physical therapist can design an appropriate recovery exercise program. Or, they may design a prevention program to help you avoid injury in the first place. Physical therapy also helps people recover from a range of medical conditions such as stroke, which often causes people to lose some degree of movement and function. It can also help patients manage a range of long-term conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and other concerns such as pregnancy issues and fibromyalgia.

By improving your balance and helping prevent falls

When people first show up for physical therapy, they are usually screened to assess their fall risk. If it is determined that they are at high risk for falling, their physical therapists can provide exercises. These exercises can improve balance and strength to help make falls less likely. They’ll work with you to improve your coordination and can also prescribe assistive devices that make walking safer.

It’s easy to see how important physical therapy is to so many people in our society. Be sure to thank a physical therapist this month!

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