Top 10 Reasons for an Older Adult to See a Physical Therapist
You've had a fall. If you fell, you might need to improve your balance and strength to reduce the likelihood of it happening again.
You’ve went from not using an assistive device to using a cane or from using a cane to a walker or a walker to a wheelchair. Needing more assistance is an indication that you're having issues with balance or strength. These are both areas that may be able to be improved and you may be able to avoid having to use the cane or walker or wheelchair.
You are fearful of falling. If you're not feeling study on your feet, then doing some targeted balance training with physical therapy might help and also give you more confidence.
Aches and pains. A physical therapist will assess your range of motion, strength and joint mobility to find areas that could be improved which may reduce your pain.
Dizziness. If you are having vertigo or sensations like the room is spinning this might be a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) which can often be easily treated with physical therapy.
Avoiding stairs, getting up from the floor or chairs without armrests. Physical therapy can help you build strength for you to be able to continue to do the things that you've always done. The goal of physical therapy is to keep you safely doing all these things for as long as you can.
Parkinson's disease. Movement and regular exercise can be a great way to stave off the progression of Parkinson's.
Joint replacement. It’s very important that you get your range of motion and strength back so you get the most out of your new joint.
Low back pain. Seeing a physical therapist first for low back pain is associated with reduced health care cost, improved satisfaction, function and quality of life and lower rates of pain medication use versus seeing a primary care doctor first.
Guidance for implementing a home exercise program. The best exercise is the one that you are going to do consistently. A physical therapist can work with you to set up a plan that you can do for the long term.
Nick Rech, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS, CFL1
Nick is a physical therapist and owner of Rech Physio, a service that provides outpatient physical therapy in your home.