Physical therapy is oftentimes viewed as a treatment that is designed to help you recover from an injury, and that does make up a large aspect of our care routine. However, injury recovery isn’t just about helping a damaged structure get stronger or more stable, it’s about targeting a range of tissues and areas to help ensure another injury doesn’t develop down the road. In today’s blog, we share five ways that physical therapists can help prevent new or recurrent injuries.
Preventing Injuries Through Physical Therapy
At OrthoRehab Specialists, we pride ourselves on helping clients prevent new injuries and keep old injuries from coming back to haunt them. We do this in a number of different ways, but here’s a look at five specific ways we work to achieve this.
- Strength Training – One of the most obvious ways we work to prevent new or recurrent injuries is through strength training. The stronger a muscle is, the more stress it will be able to handle without suffering an injury. We work to strengthen muscles, ligaments and joints so that they can easily handle the stress you put on them throughout the day. This is especially helpful for manual laborers and athletes that regularly put excess strain on their body.
- Muscle Balancing – Helping muscles get stronger is only part of the equation, because you also need to ensure that muscles are developing evenly. If you have overdeveloped quadriceps and underdeveloped hamstrings because of your current workout routine, you could be at a heightened risk for injury because of this muscular imbalance between two muscle groups that oftentimes work in unison. We can help develop a cross training regimen that helps you develop muscle groups evenly and targets overlooked areas of your body.
- Biomechanical Deficiencies – Your form is hypercritical to your performance in athletics, which is why coaches are always working to improve how you run, throw or tackle if they spot deficiencies. Our physical therapists can also spot deficiencies, and not just when it comes to athletes. We can see how your body responds to movements to look for signs that one part of your body is compensating for another, or that some action is putting excess strain on one part of your body. We also have machines that can analyze your gait or other movement patterns to spot deficiencies that may not be easy to spot with the naked eye. This allows us to help patients make movement changes and prevent injuries from developing out of these deficiencies.
- Improved Balance – One of the most common sources of injury for patients over the age of 60 is a fall. Falls are not completely preventable, but if you’re finding it harder to maintain your balance, or you’ve noticed that you’re just not as coordinated as you used to be, sync up with a physical therapist. We can help to improve your balance through strength training, muscle conditioning and other balance exercises. Don’t treat the results of a fall, work to prevent them with the help of a physical therapist.
- Pacing – Finally, one way that physical therapists help to prevent injuries is by setting clients up with a rehabilitation plan that sees them improve at the correct pace. Far too often we hear stories from people who tried to rush back to athletics or to work, only to suffer a setback because they tried to do too much, too quickly. A physical therapist is constantly evaluating your strengths and weaknesses to ensure the program they have designed for you is both challenging yet appropriate. We help to prevent injuries by building up your endurance and tolerance at the correct pace.
If you’d like to learn more about how we work to prevent injuries, or if you’d like our help with an injury of your own, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.
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