Each October, the American Physical Therapy Association hosts National Physical Therapy Month to recognize how physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can help improve and change people’s lives by restoring their mobility. Being able to move pain-free is crucial to everyday living and overall quality of life. The better you’re able to move, the less likely you are to suffer a heart attack, stroke, debilitating fall that leads to a hip fracture, or become obese. You’ll also be more likely to avoid surgery or prescription drugs for your chronic pain.
In the state of Indiana, there are well over 4,000 licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who are dedicated to improving motion in people’s lives. National Physical Therapist Month recognizes the impact these individuals make in promoting healthy and active lifestyles while providing positive outcomes for the patients with whom they work.
This year, National Physical Therapy Month is focusing on healthy aging. The APTA’s #AgeWell campaign showcases the things older adults can do to age well with the help of a physical therapist. The goal is to demonstrate to adults how they can age independently by receiving an evaluation from a physical therapist who can show them how to manage and overcome their pain and maintain the mobility that is so vital to a good quality of life.
Why Physical Therapy for Seniors is Beneficial
Physical therapy for seniors allows them to live their lives to the fullest and get back to an active lifestyle. One in four Americans age 65 will live to be at least 90 years old, and maintaining mobility can become a challenge. As we age, we tend to start losing some of our flexibility, strength and balance, which can make regular exercise difficult.
Some of the main ways physical therapy for seniors can be beneficial are:
- Reduce the risk of future falls. Falls are actually the leading case of accidents among seniors and most often, as much as one out of three times, can result in a bone fracture or other injury. A fall often leads to a senior needing physical therapy. Physical therapy can teach a senior techniques to prevent a future fall.
- Reduce the risk of injury. Osteoporosis is a major concern that can also lead to injuries in seniors. Physical therapy helps seniors learn how to maintain their stability in relation to gravity and keep their postures erect and strong through extension exercises.
- Improve arthritis symptoms. Most people over the age of 65 have some arthritis in their spine, regardless of whether or not they experience any pain. Physical therapy can help offset any future symptoms while using exercises that help preserve the strength and use of the joints. Physical therapy can also help alleviate discomfort from arthritis by utilizing physical techniques and activity modifications.
- Avoid surgery and prescription drugs. If you have lower back pain, it’s most often treated with medications even though physical therapy has been proven to be a more cost-effective treatment. Physical therapy has also proven to be just as effective as surgery for issues like rotator cuff tears and spinal stenosis.
- Maintain an active lifestyle. Obesity is responsible for at least 18% of adult deaths in the United States. The better you’re able to move, the more active you can stay and the more weight you’ll be able to keep off.
For more information about the Moving Forward Rehabilitation program at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com/service/mf.