If you’re like most people, it might be tempting to stop physical therapy once you are back to your normal routine, especially if your pain is gone. That must mean you’re completely healed, right? This is not always the case. Read on to discover 5 reasons why you should continue physical therapy even after your pain is long gone.
Decreased Dependence on Narcotics
After an injury, addressing your pain and getting you back to near-normal function are probably your doctor’s main concerns. One very effective way to accomplish this goal is by using opioid painkillers for a short time.
When they are used long-term, however, your risk of dependence increases dramatically.
Physical therapy helps to strengthen the muscles and tissues surrounding the injury site, giving you increased pain relief and a safer alternative to long-term opioid therapy.
Increased Long-Term Mobility
For most patients – especially younger ones – restoring optimal function is a straightforward process with few, if any, setbacks. As you age, however, old injuries can flare up and reduce your mobility all over again.
By continuing physical therapy even after you feel better, the chances of an old limiting your day-to-day activities later in life is decreased.
Decreased Chance of Arthritis
Bone fracture or injury of any kind puts you at greater risk for arthritis later in life, but the stiffness and inflammation common with this condition can be avoided.
Physical therapy increases movement and flexibility, thereby reducing your need to experience the aches and pains of arthritis later in life.
Decreased Need for Surgery
After an injury, joints can be broken, ligaments can be torn, and muscles may tear. In these cases, surgery may be an inevitable part of the healing process.
But for injuries that fall into the “wait and see” category, a properly executed physical therapy program can reduce your chances of having to go under the knife.
Increased General Health
In addition to stretching and strengthening your body at the site of injury, the exercises done during physical therapy can help to relieve the symptoms of other conditions as well.
For those struggling with conditions such as osteoporosis, chronic respiratory disease, or high blood pressure, physical therapy can increase bone strength, increase lung capacity and function, and decrease blood pressure.
Choosing not to continue physical therapy after your pain is gone is a lot like not taking all of your antibiotics even after you feel better: the problem will return eventually, leaving you with a more srrious issue the second time around. Physical therapy prevents the problem from returning and ensures that your injury won’t hold you back from your favorite sports, hobbies, and interests.