By Dr. Jessica Warnecke PT, DPT, OCS
How important is staying active? Maybe a question we don’t stop to think about enough…until it’s too late.
We take for granted the fact that getting out of bed each morning, reaching our arms up and out to put on a shirt, and getting in and out of our car are actions that occur with minimal thought processes needed. But each of these acts are very important to our daily routines and our well-being. A strained low back muscle, a sharp pain in your shoulder, or a sprained knee would alter each of those tasks and many others over the course of a day, week, month, or maybe even past a year.
What is Physical Therapy and where does it come into play? Physical Therapy helps people of all ages and activity levels stay mobile and healthy while fighting diseases or recovering from injuries. A physical therapist (PT) is specially trained in treating the body’s neuromuscular skeletal system—essentially the body’s muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and nerve structures. Each structure is constantly interacting with the other structures to make us move and allow us to enjoy each hobby, sport, or trip we want to experience.
Did you know that only 10% of patients seeing their primary care physician due to low back pain are referred to physical therapy? The majority were given pain medication and told to rest. This was from a study looking at data over a 13-year period! Click here to read more info from the study. This is quite unfortunate as the medication itself helps to mask the intensity of pain but doesn’t do anything for helping our structures heal and regain their original functional level. What is even more unfortunate is that a number of recent studies have come out showing that higher level narcotics (think oxycodone and morphine) are actually less effective than over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) meds.
So how do we overcome pain AND regain function?
We have to teach our body how to safely move again.
A PT understands how the body is supposed to function and knows the appropriate techniques to assist with that healing process. A combination of manual therapy, strength and mobility exercises, and patient education are vital components utilized to assist in recovery. By maintaining activity, we set ourselves up to better prevent physical injuries, diseases such as diabetes or vascular conditions, and age-related bone or balance loss. Finding a skilled PT that understands the importance of individualized care and takes the time to listen to your needs is an important step in setting yourself up for many more years of healthy living.
What should you do if you’re injured, feel like you’ve lost the ease of performing standard daily movement, or want to prevent disease in the future? Contact a physical therapist!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or call our office at 512-207-0368 to speak with a pain specialist today!
Meet Your Therapist
Jessica has been in Austin, TX for the past four years. She grew up in Idaho and attended PT school at Idaho State University. She completed an Orthopaedic Residency and became a Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist in 2016.