As we age, our bodies develop pain that can be from several different causes. Taking pain medication daily can be harsh on our organs and eventually build up a tolerance making the medications less effective and possibly addictive. Physical therapy can be a wonderful way for seniors to keep their bodies moving and healthy, while working to keep the pain at bay.
For seniors recovering from an illness or chronic pain, physical therapy can help work to relieve pain and improve a variety of health-related aspects.
1. Decrease Pain
Chronic pain affects each person differently. Daily pain can increase chances of depression and anxiety, challenging the daily life of the elderly in a tiring way. One of the major contributing pain factors for seniors is arthritis.
Physical therapy has been proven to play a vital role in helping manage the pain associated with the different types of arthritis that seniors endure. For seniors, physical therapists may recommend different treatment options, such as braces and splints to support joints, shoe inserts to relieve stress on the lower extremities, hydrotherapy, and hot and cold therapy to ease joint pain and stiffness.
2. Improve Cognitive Function
Becoming more physically active after midlife was shown to lower dementia risk. Physical therapy can allow seniors to work areas of their bodies that may not be particularly active and act as an effective preventative measure in decreasing one’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia, or making sure it doesn’t worsen with age over time.
Reading, doing manual tasks, dual tasks, IQ tests, playing musical instruments, learning a new language, cooking, and writing are few examples of activities that an elderly can perform without supervision, and are certain to improve cognitive function.
3. Infection Prevention
Lack of movement can increase one’s chance to develop pneumonia and decrease the immune system.
Physical activity will accelerate the metabolism by creating new muscle fibers and regenerating tissues in the body.
Decreasing pain medication will diminish the liver’s workload, demanding less of this structure.
4. Help with Incontinence
Senior women in specific are more prone to urinary troubles, which can be helped with the use of physical therapy.
Physical therapy can target most areas of the body, and with urinary incontinence, there are a number of pelvic floor exercises that can be shown to patients in order to improve urinary functions.
Most women who suffer from urinary incontinence aren’t aware of why it’s happening. Working with physical therapists can assist women in gaining the awareness they need of their bladder-supporting muscles (pubococcygeus and sphincter) and then learn how to strengthen them in order to control their bladder better.
5. Fall Prevention
Falling can be one of the most deadly challenges that seniors may face. Even healthy seniors can take an accidental tumble and have to deal with the repercussions that an aging body may not be up for.
According to the National Council on Aging, one in three seniors fall each year. That statistic would be dramatically decreased if more seniors sought out physical therapy for overall strengthening of the body. Physical therapy can improve functionality and flexibility of aging joints and muscles. Especially after a hospital stay, which often leads to decreased strength and balance, seniors need physical therapy to protect against falls.
To start Physical Therapy ASAP, give us a call to schedule an assessment session.
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