Sports injuries, arthritis, low back pain – all well-known reasons to seek help from a physical therapist. But during National Physical Therapy Month, Athletico wants people to know about some unexpected ways a physical therapist can improve a person’s health, helping with conditions ranging from cancer treatment side effects to incontinence. Here are six health conditions that you may not know a physical therapist treats.
• Dizziness: A severe type of dizziness called vertigo causes a sudden spinning sensation that can be very debilitating. Most cases of vertigo are caused by an inner ear problem, and often can be eliminated in one as little as one session of physical therapy using a technique called vestibular rehabilitation. Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based therapy that helps regain a sense of balance and is used to relieve dizziness and symptoms of concussions.
• Concussion: Even what seems like a minor bump to the head, from a fall or even “heading” the ball in soccer, can cause a concussion, which is the result of the brain being jarred from the impact. A concussion can sometimes lead to long-lasting health effects, such as sleep problems, depression or memory loss. Through their comprehensive vestibular rehabilitation process, Athletico’s licensed physical therapists help the brain recover through a management plan that includes evaluation, treatment and continual monitoring of the patient.
• Jaw pain: Your mother was right about poor posture, but she probably didn’t know that it’s a common cause of jaw pain known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, because it can stress the joint. A physical therapist can help you improve your posture, as well as suggest exercises that reduce pain by improving the alignment of the joint and increasing mobility.
• Incontinence: As many as 17 million women in the U.S. suffer from incontinence, or leaking urine, which typically results from pregnancy, childbirth, surgery or pelvic floor weakness. A physical therapist can help with a variety of techniques, including biofeedback and exercises to relax or contract the pelvic floor muscles.
• Headaches: Many people simply pop a pill to treat the symptoms of their frequent headaches, not knowing that they might be able to stop the pain by eliminating its cause. Some of the most common causes of headaches are poor posture, stress, muscle tightness and neck injury – all of which a physical therapist can address. Treatments range from exercises that loosen muscles to massages.
• Cancer-related discomfort: A common side effect of cancer treatment is an uncomfortable swelling of the arms or legs called lymphedema, which often occurs after lymph nodes are removed. It’s especially common in women who have had lymph nodes removed during breast cancer surgery. A physical therapist can help alleviate that discomfort using a special type of massage or, wrapping techniques and by designing a safe exercise regimen.
Athletico provides complimentary screenings to help people with these and other health problems decide appropriate next steps. Visit www.athletico.com to check out the many services offered and conditions treated, as well as find a licensed physical therapist or athletic trainer in your area who can help you get relief.