Physical Therapy for Seniors
For seniors recovering from injury or illness and for those experiencing chronic pain, physical therapy can help relieve pain and restore physical functions such as flexibility, strength, balance and coordination.
Elderly physical therapy combines a combination of approaches including stretching, walking, massage, hydrotherapy, and electrical stimulation among others.
The goal of physical therapy for seniors is to make daily tasks and activities easier. And to make seniors as independent as possible.
Among the circumstances where physical therapy can be valuable are for those:
The first goal is to reduce pain and swelling if there is any. Then, a PT will apply various techniques to increase flexibility, strength, coordination and balance. These techniques usually involve exercise such as stretching, lifting weights and walking.
PTs can also combine an assortment of other therapies, some that may help, and others that may not. It’s often a trial and error process.
Types of Physical Therapy
Manual Therapy is therapy performed by the hands of the therapist with the goal of relaxing the patient, reducing pain, and providing more flexibility. It includes:
Heat Therapy relaxes muscles and improves blood circulation, which is useful for loosening stiff joints from osteoarthritis or other conditions where you’ve been immobilized. Heat is also used to loosen muscles before exercise.
Hydrotherapy uses water to treat diseases and to maintain health, healing soft tissues, increasing blood flow, and relaxing the entire body.
Electrical stimulation uses electrical current to create a desired effect in the body. For instance, electrical current can scramble pain signals to cover feelings of pain. Electrical stimulation is used to contract muscles in stroke victims and those with arthritis.
Electrical stimulation is the general term that describes the use of electrical current to create an effect in the body. There are several uses for electrical stimulation. Electrical stimulation therapy is often used in conjuction with cold laser therapy to provide better healing.
Physical Therapists educate patients in every session. Patients are taught how to perform daily tasks, protect their body from re-injury, perform exercises at home, and how to make their homes a safer place.
Ultrasound uses high-pitched sound waves to reduce muscle spasms and relax the muscles before and after exercise.
Treating Specific Conditions with Physical TherapyThe medical community is finding that physical therapy can be used to help patients with a variety of diseases and medical conditions—some obvious, some less so.
Most people 65 and over have some arthritis in their spine, even if they don’t have the symptoms. Physical therapy can help offset future symptoms by using aquatic exercises, hot packs, electrical stimulation and other techniques.
As you can see, physical therapy can help seniors in about every area of health care imaginable. If you’re recovering from surgery or an illness or living with a disease, ask your doctor about physical therapy. PT can give you back your independence by increasing your mobility and making daily tasks easier.
Physical Therapists can be given to seniors in a wide variety of living situations !
The Achilles tendon is the largest and strongest tendon in the body that allows you to run, jump, and stand on the balls of your feet. Achilles tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon, often due to chronic overuse, that leads to swelling, pain, and irritation. Physical therapy is the most common treatment for Achilles tendonitis, decreasing pain, strengthening the affected area safely, improving mobility and flexibility, and allowing patients to return to daily activities and sports in a timely manner.
What is the Achilles Tendon?The Achilles tendon is the largest, strongest tendon in the body that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. The Achilles tendon is used to jump, walk, run, and stand on the balls of the feet. When a person pushes off the ground, force is transmitted down the calf muscles through the Achilles tendon to the foot to allow a person to run or jump; when landing, the Achilles tendon helps to control the ankle’s position when the foot comes back to the ground. It can withstand a high amount of stress from running and jumping, but is prone to irritation, overuse, and degeneration.
What is Achilles Tendonitis? Achilles tendonitis is a common condition that occurs when the Achilles tendon becomes irritated and inflamed due to repetitive stress on the tendon or a sudden increase in the amount of or intensity of exercise that places too much stress on the Achilles tendon. Achilles tendonitis can occur within the tendon itself or at the point where the tendon attaches to the heel bone.
There are two types of Achilles tendonitis:
Symptoms of Achilles Tendonitis include:
Physical Therapy for Achilles Tendonitis Physical therapy is the first line approach to managing Achilles tendonitis. Physical therapy can decrease pain and swelling of the Achilles tendon, strengthen the affected area, improve mobility and flexibility, and help patients return to their daily activities and sports safely and gradually. The physical therapist completes a thorough evaluation of the heel, calf, and ankle and assesses foot posture, strength, flexibility, and movement, including functional movements (such as standing, walking, stepping on stairs, heel raises, and squatting).
Physical therapy treatment for Achilles tendonitis includes:
Physical Therapy for Hip Pain
The hip is a ball and socket joint consisting of the thigh (femur) and the pelvis. There are many ligaments that support the bones, which provide considerable stability to the joint. Numerous muscles also attach around the hip to help move the joint.
Hip pain can be caused by many factors. Often, you may start feeling hip pain for no apparent reason. Sometimes recreation or sports puts repetitive strain on the hip causing pain. Because the hip is a major weight-bearing joint, arthritis of the hip is a common problem. The hip is responsible for such functional activities as walking, running, rising from sitting, and climbing stairs. Pain in the hip can limit these activities.
Where Hip Pain Is Felt The hip is close to the low back, and it can be difficult to determine if your hip pain is truly coming from the hip or coming from your low back. The location of your symptoms can often help to solve this problem.
What to Expect From Physical Therapy for Hip Pain Your first visit to physical therapy for hip pain will begin with an initial evaluation. This visit is important to ensure correct diagnosis and proper management. During this visit, the physical therapist will interview you to gather information about the history of your problem, the aggravating and relieving factors, and about any past medical history that may contribute to the overall problem. From the information gathered during the history, a focused examination will be conducted.
The examination may consist of several sections including, but not limited to:
Passive treatments like heat or ice may feel good, but active engagement in your PT program through exercise has been proven to be the best treatment for hip pain.
Exercises to improve hip strength or mobility may be prescribed by your physical therapist. You also may have to perform exercises at home each day as part of a home exercise program. It is important for you to be an active participant in physical therapy, and ask questions if you have any.
Exercises to improve the mobility or strength of your hip are important to keep your hip healthy. Simple exercises performed once daily are a good way to keep the hips working properly. As your hip pain improves, advanced hip strengthening may be another option to maximize hip function.
Research has also shown that joint mobilization techniques can help improve short and long-term pain in patients with hip osteoarthritis. This improvement in pain may also be accompanied by improved hip mobility.
The hip is a major weight-bearing joint in the body and is responsible for many functional activities such as walking and running, sitting and standing, and climbing stairs. Pain in your hip may limit your normal activities. Research has shown that working with a physical therapist can help improve your pain and overall mobility. By keeping your hips strong and mobile, hip pain can quickly be eliminated and a rapid return to normal activity can occur.