Is Physical Therapy Safe for Older Patients?

Apr 27, 2022

Compared to other types of care, physical therapy features  a more hands-on approach to restoring your health and fitness. Physical therapy involves a series of exercises and stretches designed to address the patient’s unique needs so they can find relief from pain, gain mobility, and recover faster from injuries. As a holistic and non-invasive approach to care, physical therapy is ideal for a wide range of patients.

As an older patient, however, you may be hesitant to try physical therapy. Due to the physical, hands-on approach, older patients may be concerned over safety risks. However, as we’ll discuss, physical therapy is ideal for older patients experiencing a range of illnesses or injuries or those simply working to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at how physical therapy can be not only safe for older patients, but incredibly effective at helping them recover from injury and maintain their health.

Here at Total Physical Therapy, we know that every path to recovery is unique. That’s why we work hard to personalize our treatment plans for every single patient. We offer close, one-on-one access with many of Denver’s top physical therapists. If you’re experiencing a musculoskeletal injury, our hands-on, evidence-based therapy techniques can speed up your recovery, boost your physical performance, and enhance your overall wellness.

With open and clear communication, advanced therapy techniques, and an entire healthcare staff dedicated to your recovery, Total PT can get you back to the life you love. 

What is Physical Therapy?

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapy is a specialized type of healthcare that includes the evaluation, assessment, and treatments of patients who are suffering from an injury, illness, or recovering from an accident. Your physical therapist will be a licensed healthcare provider who is trained to work with you via a hands-on treatment program that includes certain exercises and stretches. With time, these exercises can help your body heal naturally and boost your overall fitness and wellness. 

Who Could Benefit From Physical Therapy?

Many different types of patients stand to benefit from receiving this specialized form of care. While we may often picture Denver physical therapy patients as those recovering from major accidents or injuries, that’s just one segment. From minor injuries to major accidents, physical therapy can prove to be an effective, holistic, and non-invasive approach to care.

If you’re experiencing one of the following health conditions, speak with your primary care doctor to see if physical therapy could be right for you:  

  • Recovering from a car accident or other personal injury.
  • Recovering from a sports injury.
  • Neck pain or back pain.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation.
  • Knee, ankle, and foot injuries.
  • Arthritis.
  • Muscle sprains and strains.
  • Work-related injuries.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Cancer recovery.
  • Pre and post-surgical care.
  • Problems with balance or mobility. 

Is Physical Therapy Safe for Older Patients?

Some older patients may be hesitant to try physical therapy due to safety concerns. As a more hands-on approach to care, some may worry that the exercises or stretches could actually cause more harm than good. However, this is rarely the case.

By working with an experienced, licensed physical therapist, physical therapy is one of the safest types of treatments—no matter your age or fitness level. A physical therapy program is adaptable and tailored to fit your specific needs, which is one reason why it’s ideal for so many different types of patients. Physical therapy works with your body to heal naturally and maintain quality mobility and a high level of activity for years to come. This is why physical therapy is one of the most effective types of care for older patients. 

How Can Physical Therapy Benefit Older Patients?

Not only is physical therapy safer for older patients, but many doctors note that it is a preferred method of treatment for older patients. Compared to more invasive treatments, such as surgery or medication, physical therapy is safer and reduces your risk of potentially dangerous side effects.

Here’s a look at why physical therapy is ideal for older patients:  

  • Improved mobility: as you grow older, your mobility naturally wears down as you lose muscle mass and tissue. This lack of mobility may be especially pronounced following a surgery or accident. Physical therapy incorporates mobility exercises to reduce the risk of injury and boost your joint mobility to keep you active.
  • Prevention of dangerous falls: with less physical strength and potential issues with balance or vision, seniors are more prone to falls that can cause serious injuries. These falls can be particularly dangerous if you live alone. Physical therapy can work to improve muscle strength, balance, and coordination to reduce the risk of falling for older patients.
  • Relief from pain: living with chronic pain can negatively affect every aspect of your life. And when you want to avoid surgery or medication, physical therapy can be a safe form of pain relief by working with your body to heal and recover from pain. Some physical therapy programs might also incorporate massage therapy, dry needling, and other techniques to provide quick relief from pain. 

What Will My First Physical Therapy Session Involve?

It’s natural to be a little nervous before your first physical therapy session. Unlike simply sitting down at your doctor’s office, physical therapy requires active involvement on the parts of both the patient and the physical therapist. So, what can you expect from your typical physical therapy session?

Your initial visit probably won’t include any exercises. Before the hands-on treatment begins, your physical therapist will perform a thorough physical examination to assess your fitness level and determine your specific needs. You should be open with your physical therapist during this preliminary examination to tell them exactly what your goals are for engaging with physical therapy.

Consecutive appointments will begin to incorporate various exercises and stretches designed specifically to address your needs and aid in your recovery. It’s important to also understand that physical therapy is not an overnight fix. This approach to care requires time, patience, and commitment to your physical therapy program. The number of sessions needed for a full recovery will depend on your specific injuries; however, your physical therapist should be able to offer a rough timeline for your recovery. 

Conclusion – Is Physical Therapy Safe for Older Patients?

No matter your age, physical therapy can prove to be an incredibly effective type of treatment. It can help you heal and recover faster, gain mobility and relief from pain, and even boost your mental wellness. As a non-invasive and holistic approach to care, physical therapy is safe for patients of all ages.

Total PT is your top choice for the best Denver physical therapy treatments. With our unique approach to personalized care and  optimized one-on-one access to Denver’s top physical therapists, our entire team is dedicated to your recovery. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, require post-surgical treatment, or simply need general physical therapy care, we’re here to help. Our advanced physical therapy services can give our patients better mobility, quick pain relief, and can even help to prevent future injuries. With a holistic approach to care, our physical therapy experts offer personalized care for your total health. Contact us today or call us at 303-758-5060 to schedule an appointment for your initial consultation. Together, let’s get you back to the lifestyle you love.

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Schedule Your Dry Needling Appointment Today

You don’t have to spend another day in pain. Total Physical Therapy is here to help. Get started with your recovery and give us a call at (303) 758-5060 to schedule your preliminary physical therapy appointment. Our doctors will evaluate your therapy needs and determine a specialized treatment plan designed for you. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is available daily throughout the week to offer support and detailed information about how we can treat any of your musculoskeletal injuries.

Schedule your appointment with Total Physical Therapy today.