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6 Things You Didn't Know About Physical Therapy

Physical therapy isn’t just for professional athletes and people suffering from serious injuries! It’s a way to improve your mobility, combat aches and limitations, and increase your range of motion. You may even find that it will help you to be more effective at sports or physical activity overall.

Here are a few things you didn’t know about physical therapy.

1. It often comes with a home exercise program

This program is designed by a physical therapist, a trained professional who has an advanced degree. This means that they have years of experience studying the human body and how it moves effectively, and lots of hands-on practice training people with physical limitations or injuries that prevent proper movement. If they’re recommending a home exercise program, it’s definitely for your benefit and will help you to regain mobility and recover from your injury. It’s worth investing the time and effort!

2. You may not need to see a doctor first

In many U.S. states, you can go directly to a physical therapist without having to go through a doctor. This allows you to get the hands-on treatment you need and eliminates the middleman. However, not all states have this Direct Access — make sure to do your research to find out which states have it.

3. Physical therapists will find a way

Can’t do push-ups yet? A physical therapist will include exercises that help you develop the range of motion and muscular strength needed to do it. Finding a specific PT exercise too easy? Your therapist will ratchet up the difficulty so you’re always pushing your body. They will never settle for “too easy” or “too hard” — they will always find a way to encourage better performance.

4. Physical therapy alone may not work

Some injuries require surgery or medical intervention, and PT alone isn’t going to cure the problem. PT is excellent for dealing with a wide range of injuries, aches, and limitations, but sometimes you may need to go deeper to solve a more serious problem. But physical therapy will always be there to help you get back on your feet and active once more as you recover.

5. There are a number of PT specializations

It’s not just about muscles and joints with physical therapy — you’ve got therapists that treat a wide range of conditions, including cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological, wounds, orthopedic issues, and even post-op care. Whatever the problem, there is a therapist trained to help!

6. PT shouldn’t be painful

There is a certain amount of discomfort to be expected from any movement as you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, and increasing mobility can be uncomfortable as you stretch your muscles and joints. But PT should never be truly painful — if there is pain, it’s likely the therapist will adjust your treatment to accommodate your musculoskeletal limitations.

Physical therapy is an amazing tool in your arsenal, and if you end up needing it to recover from an injury, surgery, or simply to enhance your performance, it’s definitely worth trying!

[Image via iStock/Getty]

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