Here at PrePak Products, we are big fans of physical therapy and physical therapists. It’s a field of medicine dedicated to helping people heal in a non-invasive manner, without surgery or drugs. With a focus on adapting to injury, relieving pain, and restoring function, physical therapy supplements the body’s own natural healing processes with exercise, often using simple devices like exercise tubes or physical therapy pulley systems.
Why would you see a physical therapist?
Physical therapists offer a wide range of services, often focusing on specific areas of illness or injury. Some specialize in older populations, helping people deal with the inevitable complications of aging. Others work with athletes to improve performance, eliminate weak spots, prevent injury, or help with recovery from injuries that do occur. Major and minor surgeries often benefit from physical therapy to promote post-operative healing. And then there are physical therapists for all the many ways our bodies can go wrong: torn muscles, joint injuries, aches and pains, osteoarthritis, broken bones, and declining cardiovascular or pulmonary fitness, among others.
Really, if there’s a condition that affects health, there’s a physical therapist that can help—if not always to cure it, then at least to manage some of the complications.
So do you need a physical therapist?
The answer is simple: Yes. Or no. Or maybe. Or maybe eventually.
Okay, maybe the answer isn’t that simple. It really depends on the problem you’re facing, its severity, whether it’s something that will get better on its own eventually, whether it’s something that will get worse if you ignore it or aggravate it … it all depends!
Anyway, it’s always a good idea to start out with a professional opinion to learn the exact nature of your problem. Your doctor is a good place to start. If your condition is self-limiting, i.e. something that will get better on its own with time and rest, then you’re probably okay.
Some injuries might need a bit of extra care, though. Minor shoulder problems, for example, can progress to something much worse if treated improperly. A physical therapist would be helpful in this case to show you which exercises are best and which to avoid. The trainer at your local gym is often a poor substitute in a case like this.
Likewise, you’ll probably want qualified physical therapy for conditions such as osteoarthritis, recovery from major surgery, or other advanced diseases and serious injuries.
When can you get by without a physical therapist?
A lot of physical therapy is about general strengthening, conditioning, and flexibility for recovery and prevention. As long as you know how to properly perform these exercises, and you’re sure they won’t aggravate any underlying problems, you should be good to go. Sometimes you might start with a single consultation with a physical therapist, then follow a self-managed program without further office visits. You can also learn a lot simply by watching DIY physical therapy videos on YouTube.
Whether you’re working with a physical therapist or doing it on your own, well, you’ll still be doing a lot of it on your own. Compliance with a home exercise program is a big part of the process. And for that you’ll likely need some basic equipment. Exercise tubes are a core piece of strengthening equipment that are extremely versatile and low cost. For range of motion exercises, physical therapy pulley systems are a popular alternative to repeated visits to a physical therapist.