Many people associate physical therapy with injury. You see your physical therapist when you’ve sprained an ankle playing tennis or injured a knee while running and are eager to heal properly so you can get right back at it.

It’s time to look at physical therapy in a different light: as a lifelong helping hand that works to keep you pain free and healthier. Remember, it’s not a choice between seeing your doctor or your physical therapist; physical therapists work with other health-care professionals to ensure you get the best possible treatment for your needs.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy

Let’s take a look at many of the benefits you can derive from taking advantage of physical therapy on an ongoing basis.

Managing Pain

If you have chronic pain, you know that it can be debilitating – but it needn’t be. Physical therapy techniques and therapeutic exercise will help you mobilize your soft tissue and joints and restore function to your muscles. Your pain will be reduced or eliminated, and if you continue your exercises, you’ll be able to prevent pain from returning or climbing to previous levels.

Avoiding Surgery

Physical therapy can be the first line of defence when it comes to surgery prevention. Why jump immediately to potentially costly and invasive procedures, when physical therapy can help you banish pain, promote healing and offer better all-around health, which may help the injured tissue to heal and allow for mobility? Surgery is unavoidable in some cases, but not all, so consider your options.

Assisting with Age-related Issues

As we age, we often develop age-related health problems, such as arthritis, osteoporosis and joint pain. Physical therapy is a good starting point in managing those issues, because it doesn’t require joint replacement, and it is useful in managing pain.

Aiding Recovery

If you injure yourself or do need surgery for a health issue, physical therapy can help speed your recovery. Rather than ignoring your pain or trying to Google your injury and heal yourself, why not talk to a professional? Physical therapy treatment helps improve mobility and balance and will help you get back on your feet more quickly. After surgery, it helps restore joint function, builds up strength in your muscles, assists you in returning to the activities of daily living, reduces pain, eases swelling and improves circulation, which is important in preventing blood clots.

Boosting Your Immune System

Regular exercise improves the body’s immune system and physical therapy is one way of ensuring you’re getting it. For some people, physical therapy is the only exercise they do all day. Exercise leads to good health and a healthy immune system, so don’t neglect it.

Trying New Activities

Often, after a patient has physical therapy and experiences the benefits that stretching and resistance can have for their bodies, they are emboldened to try a new type of exercise or physical activity. They take up a new sport, go to the gym or start a regular exercise regimen at home. Yoga or elliptical trainers, anyone?

Avoiding Dependence on Medications

If you’re injured or recovering from surgery, you may be taking medications to blunt the resulting pain. You may even have a prescription for opioids, which are effective in dulling pain, but are highly addictive. During COVID-19, Canada’s opioid crisis hasn’t received the attention it did previously, but the problem hasn’t disappeared.

Reducing Fall Risk

As we age and become frailer, we’re often at greater risk for falls. Physical therapists can work with us to increase strength and endurance and improve balance to reduce the possibility that we’ll fall and end up with a debilitating broken hip.

These are only some of the ways physical therapy can benefit you throughout your life. Physical therapists work with you to determine your physical goals and help you achieve them. Even better, especially during the pandemic, they can work with you virtually to ensure you get the treatment you need.

Are You Ready to Give Physiotherapy a Try?