Even mild pain that is ignored for any extended period of time can easily become a significant issue with an unexpected or poorly timed movement. Such pain can greatly affect anyone’s life significantly regarding their ability to exercise, basic movement, and even sleep. Mental acuity would also greatly suffer leading to increased stress and an inability to enjoy basic hobbies.
Pain has the habit of draining one’s energy. Prolonged pain or even discomfort can create changes in the affected muscles by promoting the development of fibrotic tissue (scaring) which creates changes in blood flow and nutrient support. This by itself will affect muscle flexibility and promotes future injury. It is unwise to ignore pain in any capacity.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy is a branch of rehabilitative health that utilizes both specialized equipment and techniques to help a patient regain their physical abilities. The benefits of physical therapy are indeed myriad in that they are both preventative of possible future injuries and restorative in response to injuries sustained or medical procedures performed. To really get an idea of how dynamic a field integrative physical therapy truly is you need to deep dive into the various ways it can help benefit you.
1. Integrated Physical Therapy for the Stress Pain Cycle
Emotional stress can have a profound impact on the muscle system and thus significantly impact pain experienced throughout the body. It's this pain that can reduce the overall quality of life in our day-to-day lives. Stress can cause significant muscle tension. It’s this muscle tension that reduces blood supply to the muscles, reduces oxygen to the affected muscles, and affects nutrition. As muscles tension fails to release as a result of emotional stress the pain experienced throughout the body can build substantially.
The stress that contributes toward the pain can lead to pain that contributes toward increased stress. Thus, the phenomenon is known as the stress pain cycle. Symptoms of the cycle can include:
- Reduced activity in day-to-day life due to fear of pain and reduction of mobility
- An increase in depression and a reduction in social engagements
- Increased anxiety
- A significant decrease in physical activities including both professional and recreational
Addressing the symptoms means addressing the emotional and physical stresses experienced by the patient. That’s where the integrated in Integrated Physical Therapy comes in. It’s not just the physical pain that needs to be addressed. The big picture includes the musculoskeletal system and psychological aspect. To break the cycle, treatment to both of these systems need to be addressed.
2. Physical Therapy is a Fantastic Preventative Treatment for Athletes
Every sport has its risks regarding injury from golf to running to football and beyond. Many have suffered a sports injury at some point and while, depending on the severity of the injury, most will recover some might sustain continued impairment after the injury heals. Physical therapy serves two purposes in the arena of sports related injuries. Not only does it proved a safe path for recovery in that it helps to ensure the restoration of a full range of motion but it can also be utilized to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place.
As the general population recognizes the increasing need to be physically active to live a healthy lifestyle the number of sports related injuries has steadily increased across all ages. There is an average of 8.6 million sports related injuries across the country annually.* Many of which could have been avoided with preventative physical therapy.
A physical therapist can provide both training and education that can help to reduce sport related injuries, at any age, significantly. Issues related to fitness, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and wellness are the hallmarks of a great physical therapist and are the focus physical therapy programs at Advanced Medical Care Center.
3. Recovering from a Car Accident Depends on Physical Therapy
A car accident can be an incredibly traumatic experience for the human body. Treatment for the initial recovery often consists of a neck brace and pain killers with "whiplash" being the most common injury incurred during a car accident. While this treatment may be necessary at first, it will not provide the full recovery desired by a patient. To repair the underlying injury and regain full mobility often physical therapy alongside chiropractic care are utilized to support the restoration of the musculoskeletal system fully.
Even if a car accident sufferer feels no immediate pain, it's always a good idea to consult a pain management physician, such as Dr. Finn, who can refer you to a physical therapist regarding the possible injury. Often symptoms of injury show themselves days or even weeks after the accident. Taking a proactive approach to immediate medical care ensures the musculoskeletal system is kept in proper working order.
Physical Therapy is Just One Tool
As outstanding as the results from physical therapy can be it’s merely one tool in the toolbox of integrative medicine. Integrative medicine is about observing the patient as a whole and treating the cause, not just the symptoms. Often physical therapy will be coupled with chiropractic care, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and a plan will be overseen by an internist so as to guide the patient’s health back to optimal form.