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Does Physical Therapy Actually Work to Restore Mobility?

January 10, 2024

Acupuncture Q & A

What Is Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture is a type of treatment that originated in China more than 3,000 years ago. Acupuncturists use extremely slim needles, placing them in key areas on the body to alleviate pain in a natural way. The needles create a balance in the body’s energy, which allows the body to return to its optimal pain-free state.

There are several types of acupuncture. In moxibustion, moxa taken from dried mugwort warms key areas and helps with smooth qi energy flow. In auricular acupuncture, points on the outer ear are stimulated for healing. In cupping therapy, suction is used to help stimulate blood flow and promote healing.

Have you ever experienced stiff, achy knees that make it difficult to stand up from your desk? Simple movements that used to be easy now feel painfully tight and strained after years of accumulated wear and tear.

It may seem convenient to just take pain medication continuously rather than put in the effort to rehabilitate. But what if lasting relief for better mobility lies just a few personalized steps ahead on a more gradual path?

Physical therapy leverages guided movement protocols to gently recondition nervous system responses to motion and restore fluid flexibility lost to poor posture, improper mechanics, or traumatic injury over time.

Skilled physical therapists design customized treatment regimens blending targeted exercises, hands-on techniques, and innovative modalities tailored to your condition and pace. 

This article reviews how physical therapy works, the conditions it can treat, and its benefits to help you inform your decisions around reducing activity limitations and improving quality of life.

How Does Physical Therapy Work?

Physical therapy facilitates mobility improvement through comprehensive assessments, customized treatment protocols, and empowering self-care guidance. The experts at Complete Wellness also follow the same process.

The first step is a thorough evaluation where your physical therapist will review details about your condition, pain levels, abilities, and activity goals. 

Since they are movement specialists, they precisely spot where strain, poor mechanics or past collision trauma created immobility or dysfunction.

After identifying problem areas, they design a treatment plan matching your pace and objectives. Some common techniques used include:

  • Soft Tissue Mobilization: Your physical therapist uses massage, myofascial release, or instrument-assisted techniques to manually break up tense muscle knots, release scar tissue adhesions, and mobilize restricted fascia surrounding muscles. This allows a better glide and slide capacity so movement becomes comfortable again.
  • Joint Stretching: Tight joint capsules that have lost normal mobility and range of motion due to traumatic injury, arthritis, or guarding patterns are gently stretched. This expands the space so joints can move through fuller ranges without a pinch. It's like restoring wiggle room for toes cramped too long in shoes.
  • Therapeutic Exercises: Weak muscles that fail to stabilize vulnerable joints or absorb impact forces properly are strengthened with repetitive motion against resistance. This rebuilds the muscular support network and shock absorption keeping joints aligned and protected. It's like fortifying a rattling bridge.
  • Modalities: Applications like ultrasound waves, electrical stimulation currents, or traction devices are applied to irritated nerves, muscles, and tissue structures. This offers gentle analgesia easing distressed areas by enhancing blood flow, reducing spasms, blocking pain signals, or physically decompressing space.

Your physical therapist will also educate you on solutions to manage flare-ups at home between appointments. Hands-on therapies in-office reboot mobility potential while at-home self-care sustains gains long-term.

The Conditions Physical Therapy Can Address

does physical therapy work

Physical therapists, like the ones at Complete Wellness, create customized treatment plans tailored to your needs that gently restore mobility and flexibility, reduce pain, retrain stability, and prevent unnecessary medication or surgery. 

Some specific conditions that it benefits include:

  • Injuries: Sprains, strains, fractures, and dislocations can all limit your joint's flexibility and range of motion. Your physical therapist provides gentle techniques like massage, stretching, and appropriate exercises to coax fluid movement ability back into the injured area.
  • Arthritis: The joint irritation and stiffness from osteoarthritis or inflammation that restrict movement and cause chronic aches may plateau with other approaches. Hands-on physical therapy can safely improve flexibility despite degenerative changes.
  • Neurological Conditions: For nervous system conditions like stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson's disease, physical therapy builds physical resilience so you maintain mobility and balance control longer despite progressive symptoms.
  • TMJ Disorders: If dysfunction in your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) causes painful locking, popping, or clicking when eating or yawning, targeted exercise protocols can help realign your jaw motion.
  • Pelvic Floor Issues: Pregnancy, childbirth, or abdominal strain can weaken pelvic floor muscles causing leakage, prolapse, or painful tightness. Physical therapists train proper bracing and relaxation techniques to restore control.
  • Pre and Post-Surgery Needs: Preparing tissues appropriately before surgery and gradually restoring movement afterward ensures you fully benefit from the operation with supportive therapy guiding proper healing.
  • Balance/Vestibular Problems: Gentle retraining activities steadily improve stability if inner ear or nervous system disruptions are distorting your balance, coordination, or spatial awareness, increasing the risk of fall.

The Benefits You'll Get from Physical Therapy

Completing a customized physical therapy program, from experts like Complete Wellness, offers impressive benefits beyond temporary pain relief including:

  • Improved Mobility: Hands-on techniques like massage, gentle stretching, and joint mobilization enhance flexibility. Targeted exercises also expand your movement potential.
  • Lasting Pain Relief: By addressing root causes like posture misalignments or strained muscles rather than just medication masking, physical therapy offers sustainable discomfort relief as issues resolve.
  • Restored Function: Regaining flexibility through a range of motion exercises lets you perform meaningful daily activities again like gardening, golfing, or playing with kids/grandkids.
  • Enhanced Athletic Ability: Rebuilding weak muscle groups and optimizing biomechanics through sports-specific protocols improves performance potential whether you’re a pro athlete or weekend warrior.
  • Injury Prevention: Stronger muscles properly absorbing force, responsive balance reactions, and resilience through impact or falls prevent future traumatic issues from developing as you age.
  • Avoided Surgery/Meds: Gradually restoring mobility through natural interventions means you can delay or avoid completely unnecessary medications, injections, or invasive surgical options.
  • Lasting Results: Sustainable lifelong functional improvements happen when addressing root causes early through physical therapy instead of just covering up surface pain temporarily.

Take the Next Step Towards Pain-Free Motion

what can physical therapy help with

As you learn how physical therapy can improve mobility, you may feel hopeful about areas of your body waking up again as movement limitations get addressed.

As physical therapy restores flexibility addressing true roots not just numbing surface pain signals briefly, consider doing a comprehensive evaluation of your condition with Complete Wellness.

Our experienced specialists will thoroughly assess your pain profile before designing customized treatment plans that integrates:

  • Targeted therapeutic exercises rebuilding your strength foundation
  • Manual therapy techniques unlocking stiff joints/muscles
  • Soothing modalities calming irritated nerves

Our focus on nurturing your body's natural healing abilities means you can rediscover your quality of life. Our personalized treatment plans tailored to your needs will further help you move beyond pain.

Booking an appointment at Complete Wellness today to start your journey towards pain relief.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long should you try physical therapy?

It’s recommended to stick with a physical therapy program for at least 4-8 weeks to see measurable progress and improvements. Your physical therapist will guide you on an ideal timeline tailored to your condition's expected recovery pattern.

2. When is the best time to do physical therapy?

The earlier physical therapy treatment begins after an acute injury or following illness onset, the better your results since tissues heal faster and bad movement habits have less time to set in. However, it’s never too late to start a customized program.

3. Should you rest after physical therapy?

It’s common to feel some fatigue or muscle soreness after challenging physical therapy sessions. Give your body needed rest to prevent overexertion, staying active with light movement to keep blood flowing and facilitate healing.

4. What is the difference between PT and DPT?

While both roles focus on rehabilitation through exercise prescription and hands-on techniques,  a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) requires additional years of specialized doctorate training beyond a licensed physical therapist's (PT) master's degree.

5. Why do I hurt more after physical therapy?

It's common to feel some soreness after an intense Physical Therapy session, indicating productive work toward rebuilding weakened areas. This "positive hurt" should resolve within 1-2 days.

Complete wellness

Medically reviewed by Complete Wellness on Jan 23, 2024

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