For seniors who are either preparing for surgery or recovering from surgery, many of the reasons for attending physical therapy are quite often the same. Attention is paid to overall flexibility and range-of-motion capabilities, with the ultimate goal of eliminating or reducing pain.
While the person who is preparing for surgery wants to just get it done and put it behind them, the person who is recovering from surgery wants to get back to a pain-free, active lifestyle. Active senior adults want to rebuild atrophied muscles, increase flexibility, and improve balance and coordination.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Seniors?
By attending physical therapy, seniors can learn how to regain and maintain their independence. Whether managing a chronic illness or just staying fit throughout the golden years, the main goal is to restore functionality, reduce pain caused by conditions like arthritis, and improve balance – so they can continue living on their own.
Falls are the main reason why seniors require physical therapy. As people age, they may lose flexibility, muscle mass, and strength, and sometimes have problems with balance like vertigo.
Having a TIA (transient ischemic attack), or mini-stroke, also often causes people over the age of 60 to experience a sudden fall. They usually feel like they simply tripped over the carpeting or something on the floor, but the fall was actually due to a TIA – which happens very quickly and is over quickly. Physical therapy and occupational therapy can help the senior regain some or all of the function that was lost in a stroke, or recover after a fall in a mini-stroke.
By attending physical therapy, the therapist can create a custom-tailored workout plan that targets areas where the patient has weakness or pain. Being in better physical shape means the senior will have less chance of a fall – and can recover more quickly and thoroughly if they do fall.
How Does Therapy Help with Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis causes weakening of the bones. When this is combined with faulty balance, it creates a danger of falling and breaking a hip or other bone.
Learning physical therapy exercises and continuing them at home can help to increase strength in the muscles, thereby providing better support of the bones.
Can It Help My Arthritis Pain?
Physical therapy can also help combat the symptoms of arthritis. The exercises help preserve flexibility and strength in the joints while minimizing discomfort.
Therapy Following a Hospitalization
When a patient is in the hospital, their muscles can atrophy quickly due to lack of use. Educating senior patients about home-based exercises and scheduling a physical therapy regimen is extremely beneficial in recovery.
Physical Therapy for Seniors
If you or a family member has spent time recently in the hospital or is experiencing chronic joint pain or muscle pain, physical therapy could be the best medicine available. These special exercises and techniques can help give you back your independence.