Physical therapy is a form of healthcare where therapists help people improve or regain mobility and range of motion. This is completed through targeted techniques and physical therapy plans designed to treat a person’s problem. Take a closer look at the common ailments that bring older adults to a physical therapist’s office.
Arthritis is a common condition in older adults, especially osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis occurs when the joint’s cartilage thins out with repetitive use over the years. There’s no cure, but weight loss, daily exercise, and over-the-counter pain medications can help.
Physical therapists can help your dad learn how to stay mobile and ease the pain. He’ll learn exercises that help strengthen the joints and techniques like warm and cold compresses to reduce pain and stay on his feet.
Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease that can impact coordination, vision, and energy levels. Your dad may become very easily fatigued and have a hard time walking. He needs a cane, and he needs to learn how to properly use that cane. Physical therapy can help him stay mobile with assistive devices.
If your dad is overweight, a physical therapist can help him with his weight loss goals. He’ll learn exercises that inspire him to keep increasing his activity and help him tone muscles as he loses the extra fat.
Osteoporosis is often thought of as a woman’s disease, but it can impact men, too. If your dad has it, he should work with a physical therapist to maintain mobility and balance. He doesn’t want to fall, as osteoporosis increases the risk of bone fractures during a fall.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease that damages the brain and causes stiffness, tremors, loss of balance, and lack of coordination. If your dad has been diagnosed, it’s important to have him start working with a physical therapist as soon as possible. The more help he has maintaining balance and coordination, the better it is for his longevity and mood.
After his stroke, your dad cannot walk well. His speech and memory were impacted. He can’t pick up a fork, write his name, or read a book. With the help of a physical therapist, your dad will slowly regain strength and become more mobile. He may always need a cane, wheelchair, or walker, but his physical therapist will help him gain strength or learn to adjust to life needing a mobility aid.
How Does Physical Therapy Work?
What happens during a physical therapy appointment? His therapist comes to his home and assesses his current range of motion, mobility level, and flexibility. From there, his therapist will use acupuncture, electrical stimulation, and massage techniques for pain relief and to improve function in the muscles. Exercises that your dad will complete each day are also taught to him, and you might want to also learn so that you can encourage him at home.
As your dad’s mobility and range of motion improve, his physical therapy treatment plan is adjusted. The harder he works, the more mobility he can maintain or gain. Talk to an expert in physical therapy to make an appointment.