Physical Therapy Can Help Prevent Surgery (Karen Horne, Physical Therapist)
As medical science and technology has improved over the years, surgeries have become more effective and can treat a wider range of ailments. There are always inherent risks of surgeries and recovery can be difficult. For this reason, it’s important to understand that time spent with a physical therapist can ease or reverse your condition and make surgery unnecessary.
Your Physical Therapist will use his/her knowledge of the body and will run you through different routines and exercises to treat your injury. Whatever treatment you are given from your therapist will be beneficial, although it won’t always be the case that it will make it so you don’t have to get surgery. Each case is different; so you may see one supposedly similar injury heal through physical therapy and another need surgery.
In cases where tissues and muscles are torn to the point that they must be put back together to heal, surgery will be necessary. Compound or severe fractures also may require surgery to heal properly. The most common types of ailments than physical therapy can prevent from being treated by surgery are strains, sprains, minor fractures, tendonitis, back pain, and dislocated shoulders. Degenerative conditions such as arthritis can also be helped by physical therapy.
Your physical therapist will use different supplies and equipment to heal your injury and try to keep you from having to get surgery. He or she may also use methods such as hydrotherapy, electro therapy, heat and cold therapy, suspension aids, traction aids, and various types of exercise equipment.
In using hydrotherapy, you may expect to be immersed in different water tanks and tubs that are designed to help increase blood flow and eliminate gravity resistance. One common method of hydrotherapy is sitting in whirlpool baths.
Electro therapy includes providing an electric current to muscles and nerves to help stimulate blood flow and tissue. Different muscle stimulation and ultrasound devices are used as part of treatment.
Heat and cold therapy is used to decrease the inflammation in the joints and to increase the elasticity of joint connective tissues and to stimulate blood flow.
For example, a Physical Therapist will teach people suffering from arthritis many different exercises such as range of motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and endurance or aerobic exercises. These exercises will reduce joint pain and stiffness and increase flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance. Other therapy used would be the heat and cold, and hydrotherapy.
A skilled physical therapist can use all the aforementioned treatments to lessen the chance of you having surgery. He or she can do everything possible, however, and you may still end up needing surgery. Your therapist has your best interests in mind and has dealt with many injuries similar to yours, so maintain a positive mindset and you may end up not needing surgery in the end.