People recovering from injury due to an accident or incident will most likely be referred for physical therapy once stitches or stables are removed and swelling begins to dissipate. The process will be an arduous and often uncomfortable one but is essential for a faster and more complete recovery. The benefits will far outweigh any soreness, tiredness, or inconvenience experienced.
The first step in this process is a consultation with a professional therapist. The patient will be asked about flexibility and strength before the accident, the current level of pain or discomfort, and overall health. This, along with medical records, x-rays, and notes from the doctor will determine the ideal treatment plan. The therapist will also have a look at the area and have the patient demonstrate the current level of movement.
The goal in the early stages of physical therapy in, depending on the extent of the injury, is to alleviate the trauma to the area. That may mean moist heat to the injury, ultrasound, light massage, water therapy, or electric stimulation. Gentle movement, some stretching, and adding weight to the area as tolerated are also ways to reduce trauma, swelling, and stiffness to the body part most effected by the accident.
The Next Stage
Exercises are a major component of any therapy. Some will be completed on equipment at the location. Others will need to be done at home on a consistent basic. This can be challenging after an injury, especially is discomfort persists. Keep in mind that exercises may be uncomfortable but should never cause pain when done correctly.
Being an active participant in your own recovery is crucial. Lack of anticipated progress due to failure to comply can result in the need for manual manipulation. This is not a means of punishment although it may feel like it. The therapist physically moves the injured area to loosen it up.
A knee that is still stiff after a certain point of time will need to be bent by the therapist. This is slow yet firm pressure designed to prevent scar tissue from rendering the joint frozen in place. It also moves the progress forward so exercising is more effective. This is usually required after the area has been in a brace or cast and immobile for an extended length of time.
The End Result
The result of therapy is strength, flexibility, and techniques to avoid future injury. Therapy is also beneficial because patients leave well-versed in proper body mechanics to improve stance, core movements, and balance.