We’re generally familiar with the idea of physical therapy, especially when some sort of trauma is involved.
Physical therapists are often recommended to help people regain movement, strength, and flexibility after something happened, everything from a broken bone sustained in a car accident to loss of motion after a stroke.
The team at Accredited Home Care often works with clients who need a physical therapist in addition to other medical providers – and we can deliver.
Our staff includes a variety of skilled physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who are happy to visit clients on a regular basis and help them with all sorts of needs. We also offer the service of occupational therapists and massage therapists who also can have a role in helping people feel better and learn or re-learn skills to better help them live independently.
Physical therapists typically spend a certain number of sessions working with a client on different exercises to help them regain use of one or several limbs or even improve overall mobility. They also may give “homework” and encourage the client to perform exercises on their own on the days that the therapist isn’t there. This extra effort can provide additional benefits and help their progress.
There are other benefits of physical therapy that not everyone is aware of. Along with helping with specific pain or medical conditions, it also can help with general bone and joint health.
EndocrineWeb, which discusses medical issues especially those affecting the endocrine system, said a physical therapist can have a role in helping reduce the pain and symptoms of osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones brittle, thinner, weaker, and easier to damage.
Someone with osteoporosis may end up with holes in their bones. This causes pain as well as increases the risk of bone breaks, especially if falling occurs as a result of poor support. When a fall does take place, osteoporosis can make it easier for the bone to break.
In seniors especially, a broken bone from a fall, or other damage such as a traumatic brain injury, could be disabling. It could affect people’s ability to move around and live independently. They may need to bring in a 24-hour caregiver or consider relocating to a different location where advanced care is available.
While physical therapy itself can’t directly repair broken bones, it can improve the support that the bone receives in the body, including stronger muscles. Bones also weaken naturally over time, so a senior often has fewer strong bones than someone in their 70s.
Women especially are prone to osteoporosis as they age. This condition might be tied to lower estrogen, a hormone that decreases with age. Estrogen also helps create bone material throughout someone’s life, and if there’s less of it, it takes longer for new material to form, and less and less bone density.
Physical therapists come with a variety of programs and exercises to help strengthen muscles and support bones and improve weight. They also may suggest to their provider that they prescribe estrogen supplements.
Exercises can include activities that involve moving limbs like jogging, walking, climbing, and dancing, plus resistance training like yoga, weightlifting, and general stretching. All-around exercises like bicycling and swimming can provide cardiovascular benefits as well as strengthen muscles.
He or she may also focus on improving posture, since there is a tendency for people to become more hunched over the years, especially if they’ve worked for years where they’ve bent over, like a desk.
Better posture can help balance and reduce falls and also cut down on pressure on the spine.
There has been quite a lot of research into helping people’s bones and lowering the risks and symptoms of osteoporosis.
The National Institutes of Health offers the Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases National Resource Center, which provides a variety of information about different conditions people can experience. It also offers strategies for people who want to improve their bone health and overall health.
These include general exercise tips since everyone is encouraged to put in at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days.
There’s also encouragement to go beyond basic exercise for optimal bone and joint health. For instance, lifestyle choices like stopping smoking or heavy drinking can improve your overall health. A better diet can also have benefits for the whole body.
There are other resources to help. For instance, October is National Physical Therapy Month, where people in this profession are encouraged to let their community know about what they do and the value of physical therapy.
The Bone and Joint Institute also organizes Bone and Joint Action Week each year, which includes a focus on different disorders and opportunities to treat them. This runs Oct. 12-20 this year and includes different days for the attention to different conditions, such as general back pain, arthritis, spinal deformity, and osteoporosis.