Muscle and joint aches can leave you reaching for pain-relieving medication, but this only provides temporary relief. Plus, there’s the worry about what medications like aspirin are doing to your body. You can develop health complications that take your mind off of your chronic aches and pains, but now you’re dealing with another medical concern.
A better option is to see a physical therapy specialist in Webster, but how do you know when to schedule an appointment? Another great question is what to expect during a physical therapy session.
Signs It May Be Time To See A Physical Therapist
So, how do you know when it’s time to make an appointment with a physical therapist and when to let the aches and pain run their course? While your primary care physician is a great resource, sometimes they can miss a diagnosis.
Unless your injury is obvious, your physician may not realize the severity of your pain. Before you make an appointment without your doctor’s approval, always talk to your healthcare provider first. Not only is it the responsible thing to do, but it may also be necessary for insurance coverage.
Most insurers require a physician’s referral before covering any costs associated with physical therapy. Some common signs that your aches and pains are not normal include the following.
You Are Experiencing Mobility Issues
Are the aches and pains in your joints and muscles affecting your ability to move easily? If climbing stairs, walking, or even standing results in pain, you may want to consider seeing a physical therapist.
Your pain may not only be affecting your mobility and quality of life, but it can also damage other joints and muscles that are being overused. IF left untreated, your aches can easily multiply.
The Pain Is Constant
Your chronic pain can be a sign of a more serious health issue like tendonitis or muscle strain. Not only is the constant pain interfering with your ability to complete daily tasks, but it can also start affecting your mood.
If left untreated, some aches and pains can turn into issues with torn tendons and muscles. If this occurs, you may require surgery and physical therapy to properly heal. Constant pain in the joints can also be a sign of arthritis, and physical therapy can help lessen the symptoms and help you move more freely.
Recovering From An Injury
Injuries like broken bones and torn ligaments can leave you immobile during the healing process. After weeks of immobility, you’re finally itching to get back to your normal routine. However, before you hit the gym or even start walking neighborhood trails, it’s a good idea to talk to your physician about seeing a physical therapist.
A physical therapist will assess the healing injury and create a rehab plan that will get you back to your full potential. Part of the rehab therapy will include strengthening exercises and examining the healing injury for any issues that may slow down your recovery.
Minimize Your Risk Of Developing Aches And Pain
Physical therapy can also be preventive. Your muscles and joints may feel fine now, but as you age, aches and pains can pop up. To combat natural wear and tear on your muscles and joints, physical therapy can teach you how to move properly.
How you walk, run, sit, and stand can affect your mobility, and physical therapy can teach you to move without placing stress and strain on your body.
What To Do And Expect In Physical Therapy
So you’re ready to start physical therapy but aren’t sure what to expect—you don’t even know what to bring or how to dress. Well, don’t worry; here are some tips to make your first session go more smoothly:
Bring Your Medical Information
You don’t need to bring a thick medical history file. If your physician referred you to a physical therapist, they already have the information. However, you do want to bring a list of medications you’re currently taking. You may also want to grab any X-rays or MRIs of your injury, as this can help the physical therapist create an effective treatment plan.
Don’t forget to let your physical therapist know about your aches and pains, which includes the location and severity. The more your physical therapist knows about your injury, the better they can treat you.
If your preferred dress code is sweats and loose-fitting shirts, you’re in luck. Your physical therapy session will involve stretching and some moving around, and you do not want to wear restrictive clothing.
When it comes to shoes, leave your dress pair at home. You want to wear shoes with non-skid soles. Remember, you will be doing some exercises, and you do not want to start sliding around on the floor. Not only can this acerbate your existing injury, but you can also develop a new one.
Perform The Prescribed Exercises
Yes, you’re stretching and exercising at your physical therapy sessions, but this isn’t enough to promote healing or noticeably improve mobility. Your physical therapist will create a list of exercises you should perform every day. Your physical therapist will also give you a set number of exercises, and it’s important you perform the entire set.
Don’t skip an exercise because it’s boring or not exciting—your physical therapist prescribed the exercise for a good reason. If you’re having trouble completing the exercises because of pain, let the therapist know. Your injury may not be healed enough, and the pain may be a signal.
Take Lots Of Notes
Take notes during your sessions and while you’re going through the stretches and exercises at home, and jot down when you feel an ache or tinge of pain. You may also want to write down how long it takes you to go through the set.
Writing notes down at your sessions will help you remember instructions at home so you can perform the exercises correctly and heal a little faster.
A Physical Therapist Can Help Reduce Your Aches And Pain
A physical therapist can help minimize and even alleviate some aches and pains you may face. However, don’t forget to perform the exercises at home and let your physical therapist know if the pain worsens.
With time and effort, you can get your mobility back and successfully recover from muscle and joint injuries.