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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

What can a physical therapist do for you? (Part I)

Many people think of PT as something you only do after having surgery. While that is true, a great physical therapist can offer you so much more!

We help you recover from injuries

Let's start with the big one that everyone knows. A physical therapist helps you recover from injuries. Maybe you had surgery on your knee and need to get it stronger so you can walk around again or maybe you had a sprain that needs a little TLC.

This is what PT's are most known for. It's our bread and butter. PT's are musculoskeletal experts and the professions best suited to "put you back together" after an injury.

Whether you've had a major injury, surgery, or a mild tweak, a PT is going to be the one who make sure you get back to 100%.

We help you find the cause of and solution for aches and pains that come out of nowhere

Not every ache and pain is an "injury." Sometimes you wake up with stiff/sore neck. Maybe you bend over to pick something up and your back hurts. It could even be something like a mild soreness with exercise that persists and worsens over time, eventually limiting you from doing that activity.

All of these "out of nowhere" pains are usually a warning sign from your body, telling you something is wrong and you need to do something about it.

That's where we come in. We are going to find the root cause of those aches and pains and address them. We don't like to just put a band-aid on those kinds of issues. That usually just perpetuates things and they can get worse or flare up over time. We want to help you find a solution so those aches and pains resolve AND stay away.

If you're having a "for no reason" kind of pain, see a PT right away so you can take care of it.

We keep your body (joints, muscles, bones, tendons, etc) "in tune"

Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts. They know the body forward, backward and sideways, inside and out, up and down... you get the point. Because they are so well versed in all things human anatomy and function, they know when things aren't right and what to do about it.

Maybe there's a funny movement pattern, weakness, a mobility problem, etc. We know just what to do to fix it. Many people don't even realize they have compensatory patterns that can lead to other issues down the road.

A regular check in with your PT (we call ours a Total Body Wellness Assessment) looks for these issues that can lead to problems if they aren't addressed. Once those deficits have been identified, the appropriate exercises are assigned to help improve them.

You take your car in for regular maintenance, why don't you do the same with your body?

We prepare you to return to specific sports/activities after injury

So you had an injury. Maybe you rested a bit, did some light exercise on your own and now you're ready to go back to **insert sport/activity here**

You are able to do all your normal daily tasks without pain now so it's time, right? You throw on your shoes and go for a run/lift/climb/cycle/etc and BAM, pain is back. You get discouraged and don't know what to do.

Don't stress! We've got you. While daily tasks might not hurt, your body may not be ready to return to your full sport/activities again quite yet. You see, when you have to take time off, your body gets deconditioned and I'm not just talking cardio. Your muscles can get weaker, joints can get stiffer, and so on. Because of this, you can't always just jump right back into your previous activity or level or activity.

The other thing that can happen is your body can be a little over protective after injury. It remembers it was hurt and it might need a little help in knowing it's ok to do certain things again.

A PT can help you with both of these things. As movement experts, we know the right way to move and load the body to prepare it for certain tasks. We also know how to desensitize it to movement so protective mode doesn't go into overdrive and keep you from doing what you want.

If you've had pain or injury and feel like you just can't quite get back to doing what you love, let us help you navigate that!

We help you improve athletic and sport performance

Did you know PTs do more than treat injuries? We can help you improve your performance too!

There are PT's who specialize in particular sports and have a wealth of knowledge of the sport and how the human body performs. This can be invaluable to you if you want to improve your performance.

It's not all about just getting stronger with performance. You could be missing a little mobility somewhere that's holding back your potential or there could be a certain pattern that's a little wonky and improving it improves how well you can do a particular task (think shoulder stiffness or decreased scapular control with throwing or lifting weights overhead - it's going to affect how well you do that activity).

PTs are trained to get into all the "nooks and crannies" of your strength, mobility, and movement patterns and improve them so you can perform your sports and activities better than you ever thought you could!

Sport goals? We can help! Maybe it's lifting a certain weight, running a certain time on a race, improving your golf swing or finally getting that project completed at the crag. A PT can help!

We can be a primary provider for acute musculoskeletal injuries

You don't always need to go to the ER or MD first. Physical therapists are trained and equipped to be primary care providers for musculoskeletal injuries.

This is especially true for aches and pains that don't involve any trauma but can apply to traumatic injuries as well.

Did you wake up with back pain or a stiff neck this morning? Maybe your knee was killing you on your run this morning. You can go straight to PT! No referral necessary. Chances are, you'd end up waiting to get an appointment with the MD for at least a few days if not weeks and then end up sent to PT anyway. You can just skip those first steps, go straight to a PT for evaluation, and start getting relief right away. The longer you wait, the longer it can take to undo things so sooner is almost always better.

Even if you had a "traumatic injury" you can still go to PT first. Now, of course there are situations where you might want to head straight to the MD or ER - if a bone is sticking out somewhere, PT probably isn't the best first choice.

That being said, traumatic injuries such as tweaks with something lifting, sprains, strains, etc can be seen by PT first. Many of those injuries don't require imaging. If your PT suspects you might need something like an x-ray (we have tools we use to decide if you need one or not), we can send you to the right place to get it done fast.

Don't wait, costing yourself extra time and money, just head straight to PT and utilize them as the primary providers they are!

We help you prevent injuries

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Have you hear that one before? It's original meaning wasn't about preventing injuries but it sure does apply!

One of our favorite things at Nashville PT is helping people prevent injuries.

You see, as PTs, we see a lot of injuries and pain that make us think if we had been able to get to this patient to work on this strength/mobility/motor control issue, we could've prevented this from occurring!

We know not everything can be prevented and sometimes injuries just happen, BUT there are a lot of things we see that can be prevented.

We offer what we call a Total Body Wellness Assessment at Nashville PT. We start with a medical history and history of injuries then proceed to look at head to toe range of motion, strength, balance and movement patterns. We even have objective ways to look at your level of strength relative to your body weight and sex so the measurements are more specific to you.

We take the information we find during the assessment and build an exercise plan for you to work on at home or in your gym to help address any limitations that we find. If you can get strong, mobile, and have good movement patterns, your risk of injury should go down. We would love to be able to see these clients back for follow ups at least annually but depending on activity level and how much there is to address, maybe even quarterly or monthly. That is up to you and your PT to decide.

We also offer upper or lower body only assessments as well as sport specific assessments such as those for runners or golfers.

If you can work to prevent injuries, do you know what that can do for you? It can save you from having to take time off of doing the things you love to do, possibly prevent time lost at work due to injuries, and save you money by preventing rather than treating injuries.

Don't wait until your broken to fix things. Get ahead of them with an injury prevention visit such as the Total Body Wellness Assessment!

We improve your ergonomics and posture

Last year, a large number of people went from working in an office 5 days a week to working from home. Many people don't have a home office and found themselves working from the dining table or maybe even the sofa. Neither of those are an ideal setup when you're there 8+ hours a day for 5+ days a week.

You might've noticed an aching neck or back after working from home for a few weeks. Maybe your hands were going numb after a few hours on the computer. Frustrating, right? But what do you do?

You call us! PTs can help you set up your work from home station, even if it is the dining room table, so that aches and pain stay away. It can actually even be done via telehealth or with a virtual visit! Then we can be "right there with you" and help you find a solution so you don't hurt!

Posture is another thing PTs are well versed in. Posture is a funny thing - there's not always a "right" or "wrong" posture. It's more about the amount of time you spend in a certain position.

The human body is made for movement. It really doesn't love being static for long periods of time. Slumping forward over the computer for long periods can be just as irritating as trying to sit up straight as a board all day long! Neither is necessarily right or wrong, but you need some variety in your postures during the day.

Most of us tend to sit slumped over throughout a majority of our day, deeming it "bad posture" and if you're doing it all day, it can be bad!

The good news is, we can help you with that! We can create a program for you to strengthen muscles that your regular postures might be causing weakness in and lay out a plan to get you moving a little more during the day too, helping you stay pain free while working!

If you're hurting during or after work, get a PT to help you with posture and ergonomics today!

Stay tuned as we cover What can a physical therapist do for you? (Part II) in our next blog post, coming soon!


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