Physical Therapy for Seniors: Is it Safe?
Physical therapy utilizes physical
methods that focus on treating injuries, deformities, and certain diseases.
These physical methods often include exercise, massage, and heat treatments.
When it comes to using physical therapy for seniors, how effective is it?
Older patients often have problems concerning balance issues, poor endurance, muscle weakness, difficulty in walking, pain, back pain and other physical function problems. The decline in their general health is attributed to age. Aging can make daily tasks more tough for seniors. And this may lead to accidents and serious injuries.
Although aging has negative causes to
the body over time, physical therapy for seniors – along with a healthy diet
and mind – allow them to live their lives to the fullest extent possible. The
goal of physical therapy for senior patients is to restore or maintain their
physical functionalities and give them independent living for as long as
Treating Chronic Conditions with
Physical Therapy for Seniors
As we age, we are more prone to
suffering from certain health conditions. Many medical professionals recommend
physical therapy for senior patients to help manage different chronic illnesses
Some of these conditions include:
Those 65 and older will most likely develop arthritis.
This condition manifests in the spine and may or may not show any initial pain or symptoms.
Physical therapies use specialized techniques to help alleviate any feelings of pain or discomfort brought by arthritic conditions. These techniques may also prevent future pain from happening as a result of this condition.
Those who have had a stroke will
commonly experience muscle weakness and general loss of strength on one side of
their body. To treat this symptom, a physical therapist utilizes
constrained-induced movement techniques.
As the name implies, this technique
restrains the good side of the limb. This allows the patient to focus on
strengthening the weaker, affected limb. This technique also helps in
stimulating the side of the brain responsible for restoring our body’s
functions and controlling our movements.
Up to 60,000 are diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease each year. A majority of those affected are those 60 and older. While this condition is often progressive and unalterable, prescribed medications combined with regular physical therapy help improve the body’s flexibility. The treatments involved also help in lessening the involuntary and unresponsive movements brought by this condition.
Treating patients with Alzheimer’s
Disease or dementia is common among physical therapists. There are physical
therapy programs developed to help improve the memory functions and other
memory impairments, which is greatly affected when suffering from this
Physical therapy for seniors with this
condition focuses on pelvic exercises. These exercises help in strengthening
the muscles in control of the bladder.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for
Whether it’s a progressive condition,
recent injury, or post-surgery, most seniors experience some level of physical
impairment that renders them unable to live an independent life.
Physical therapists help seniors in
restoring as much function as they can, so they can still enjoy the freedom
they can have. Most of the treatment programs are person-centered; this means
that these therapy programs are developed specifically for the patient.
Some of the primary benefits of
physical therapy for seniors include:
Minimizes Risk of Falling
Falls are one of the top causes of
injuries in older people. In many cases, falls can result in fractures, wounds,
and other severe injuries. Physical therapists use a variety of exercises and
manual techniques to improve flexibility, strength, and gait to minimize the
risk of falls.
Managing Pain Without Relying on
Medications or Surgery
This treatment is proven to be an
effective way of managing pain for both old and young patients – without
relying on surgeries or drugs.
Reduces Chances of Infections
Senior patients who undergo regular
physical therapy programs benefit from always moving their bodies. This means
they have lesser chances of developing infections with the help of
doctor-approved exercises and stretches.
Obtaining a Healthy Lifestyle
Doing regular exercise is a crucial
factor in maintaining good health. However, as we get older, it may become more
challenging to move. Seniors who are under physical therapy and exercise
programs are more likely to reduce the risk of health problems – especially
those related to obesity – which is a major cause of adult death in the