When someone mentions a physical therapist, the first thing that comes to your mind would probably be treatment post-surgery for joint-related issues or for mobility assistance. But did you know that experienced physical therapists are trained to treat a host of other ailments that many have not even heard of? Let us look at three of the most surprising ailments that physical therapists can treat so you would know who to recommend if you ever happen to come across someone with the following ailments.
Physical therapists are healthcare specialists.
Physical therapists are healthcare providers with special training. They must have a license to practice. They have the designation “PT” after their name. Many physical therapists get extra training. They then get licensed in one of eight areas by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists. PT specialties include electrotherapy, geriatrics, women’s health, pediatrics, neurology, heart and lung disease, sports, and orthopedics. Some physical therapists continue training to get a doctoral degree (DPT) or another advanced degree.
Physical Therapy for Jaw Pain / Discomfort (TMD)
If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of a temporary jaw discomfort from over chewing, then you would know how it feels like for patients with chronic jaw pain and discomfort. This is known in the medical community as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and causes range from poor teeth alignment, fractures, chronic jaw clenching, and even poor posture. As can be seen from the causes, it is no wonder that physical therapists seem to be the right healthcare professional to go to if you are hoping to have your jaw discomfort treated.
Dizziness / Vertigo
You may not be familiar with the word vertigo, but it is the sensation that you may get when looking down from say a great height. It’s simply the sensation of the head spinning and general dizziness that you may experience from time to time. Often times, the cause of dizziness and vertigo are due to a vestibular migraine and it is thought to be related to lifestyle and hormonal changes as we age. Most people experience a sudden onset of vertigo and the experience would gradually go off. However, what many people are unaware of is that physical therapy in the form of vestibular rehabilitation can really alleviate one’s dizzy spells. Physical therapy would be able to improve one’s mobility and balance by providing exercises that treat the root causes of dizziness. Exercises like Canalith-repositioning and Gaze stability all treat the root causes of vertigo, making physical therapy one of the best choices to treat this condition.
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Finally, one of the most unexpected injuries to be treated by a physical therapist would be traumatic brain injuries. TBIs occur when an injury changes the way brain functions and common causes include crashes and sudden impact to the head. Anyone can be susceptible to TBI, from kids below the age of 4 to the elderly above 75 years old. Symptoms as a result of TBI include weakness in body parts, cognitive decline as well as sensory changes. A physical therapist will be able to work with a patient to help them regain their mobility, strength and sensory abilities through consistent exercises and task-specific training, improving their conditions over time.
If you know someone with the following conditions or are experiencing them yourself, perhaps it’s time for a visit to the physical therapist to alleviate the symptoms — you may be surprised at the progress you will make
Physical therapy can treat pain with mirrors.
People who lose an arm or leg often experience what’s called phantom limb pain. The pain feels like it’s coming from the limb that is no longer there. This pain can last for years. A physical therapist may be able to trick the patient’s brain into turning off the pain. The therapist uses mirrors to make it look like the lost limb is moving while the patient is really using the existing limb. It’s called mirror box therapy. It can be an effective treatment for phantom limb pain.
Physical therapy can help children with autism.
Autism spectrum disorder includes many symptoms and behaviors that may respond to PT. For instance, PT may help children who have posture problems. It may help with hand-eye coordination. Children who have trouble controlling their body movement may benefit from PT, too. A physical therapist can create a plan to improve motor skills and coordination. It may include play skills. The therapist can help the child learn things that others learn naturally. Riding a bike or running and jumping are examples.
Physical therapy can help people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Physical therapy is one of the few treatments that may slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a disease that destroys brain cells. It changes the way people speak, think and act. PT for this condition includes healthy and safe exercise. This is important because exercise may have a role in preserving memory. Physical therapy can also help people with early Alzheimer’s handle day-to-day activities. This may let them stay independent longer.
Physical therapists make house calls.
Most people today don’t have doctors who make house calls. However, physical therapists often treat people at home. In fact, home health is an important part of PT. People who need home care may be recovering from surgery. They may be children with disabilities. They may be elderly people who are homebound. Home care may include PT after joint replacement surgery, a stroke, wound infections, incontinence, heart disease, and COPD.
You can seek physical therapy on your own.
People often see a physical therapist because their doctor prescribed PT for them. But, you don’t need a doctor’s referral to get this treatment unless your health insurance requires that for you to get coverage.
You can simply call on Health Plus Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Center, Edison, NJ and make an appointment.
You don’t need to be recovering from major trauma or illness. Instead, you might have a nagging injury or lingering pain. Check with a therapist to see if PT might help.