As more people seek alternatives to long-term drug treatments prescribed by physicians, physical therapy centers are becoming a popular choice for pain management. Many people picture someone relearning to walk or lifting weights to help build up weakened muscles from an injury or accident. Historically, physical therapy dealt mainly with the musculoskeletal system caused by birth defects, injury, or old age. But modern physical therapy deals with a wide array of health areas, with many physical therapy centers offering specialties in cardiopulmonary health, women’s health, and pediatric health.
What Is Physical Therapy Alternative Treatment?
Cancer patients, women struggling with postpartum or prenatal health issues, people with painful skin disorders, and anyone dealing with vestibular problems can seek treatment from a physical therapist. Progressive oncology therapy often uses forms of physical therapy to help patients maintain strength during traditional cancer treatments. Exercises that help with balance and coordination, something greatly affected by intense cancer treatments, can help patients regain normal mobility quicker than if no preventative measures are taken.
Pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s reproductive system, often leaving her with weakened pelvic muscles that can lead to incontinence and painful sexual intercourse. Traditional physicians may recommend surgery, but a physical therapist will perform an exam and create an exercises program that helps strengthen the pelvic muscles. Physical therapy can also help pregnant women realign the joints so that the last trimester is more comfortable. Breast surgery recovery is another women’s therapy, which helps women who have had mastectomies regain mobility.
Vestibular disorders affect balance and coordination. The inner ear is responsible for much of a person’s balance, and when the vestibular system is sending mixed messages to the brain, a person experiences dizziness and a loss of balance and coordination. Physical therapists have training in maneuvers and exercises that help realign the vestibular system so that it’s working normally again. Patients can also receive education about how to perform the maneuvers and exercises at home.
How to Choose a Physical Therapist
Once a physical therapist graduates from an accredited school, they can choose to work at a hospital, in a nursing home, or choose among a variety of physical therapy centers. Physical therapy programs from North Port to southern California traditionally offer similar educational programs, and all therapists must become licensed in the state they work. Physical therapists who wish to focus on one area of therapy usually take advanced education classes and become certified in the specialty area. It’s important that a person needing therapy for women’s health, dizziness issues, or skin conditions work with a therapist who has received training in that specific area.
When choosing a therapist, it’s important that a patient feels comfortable discussing health issues with the therapist. It’s also important that the patient feel comfortable with the therapist’s assistant, who may handle a large part of the therapy under the supervision of the licensed therapist. Other considerations include whether or not the practice accepts the patients insurance, if the therapist is willing to work in conjunction with a patient’s physician, and the goals set forth by the therapist for health improvement and preventative health measures.
While alternative treatments aren’t for everyone, physical therapy centers offer people the option of trying non-invasive, drug-free medical care. With the education provided and the managed care given by the therapist, many people find that physical therapy is a great alternative to medication for long-term pain management.