Physical therapists are health care professionals who work with patients to restore function, relieve pain, and prevent future physical limitations. Physical therapists treat injuries and conditions that affect movement, posture, and pain in individuals of all ages. But, although their services are invaluable, physical therapists aren’t always the best solution to every physical problem you might have—and not everyone needs to see one at all. Read on to learn more about when it makes sense to see a physical therapist and when it doesn’t.
Treating injuries is one of the most common reasons people see physical therapists. Depending on how severe your injury is, you may be referred by your primary care doctor, or self-refer after searching for treatments online.
The underlying cause of chronic injuries is usually overuse, which can be treated by physical therapy. The treatment helps patients learn to avoid injuries, as well as rehabilitate them when they do occur.
Sometimes, joints become inflamed and it becomes painful to move them. Joint pain can be caused by an injury, overuse or even genetics. A physical therapist can help you get on track with exercises that will allow you to feel better sooner rather than later.
If you’re experiencing severe pain in a specific muscle, it’s likely that you should seek help from a physical therapist.
A physical therapist can help treat injuries by performing manual therapy, administering modalities and therapeutic exercises, and providing nutritional guidance. This type of rehabilitation allows you to avoid surgery and return to sports with less pain.
Many people with carpal tunnel syndrome, an inflammation of tendons in your wrist that can often result in pain and weakness in your hands, can ease their symptoms with physical therapy—this is true even for those who’ve been told by their doctor or orthopedist that surgery is necessary. A physical therapist can also help relieve joint pain, decrease tightness and improve range of motion.