If You Could Prevent Future Pain, Would You?
Written by: Teresa Werth, PT, DPT, OCS
Most often when people think about physical therapy, they think about seeing a PT after an injury or a surgery. And that is absolutely appropriate! However, most people don’t think of seeing a Physical Therapist when they are well! But allow us to maybe change your thinking on that…
Maintenance is important, right? We maintain our cars, our houses, our boats, etc. We bring our pets in for their yearly checkups. We see our primary care doctors for our yearly checkups. We get our annual eye checks and our yearly skin checks. When was the last time you had your regular movement check?
Think about a time when you injured yourself. It was annoying, wasn’t it? It’s painful. It limits what we can do. It really hinders life! If there’s something you could do to prevent that injury, would you do it? That’s where your PT Wellness visit comes in!
We are the movement experts! We can pick up on subtle compensations long before your body starts to feel pain from them. And by correcting those compensations now, we prevent that potential pain in the future! Does that mean you’ll never get injured? Unfortunately, no. But making sure your body is balanced and moving well can reduce a lot of that risk!
What Can I Expect at a PT Wellness Visit?
Each PT has their own unique style, but in general, we will look at your functional movement: things like walking, standing up from a chair, balancing, reaching, and squatting. The movements that we do daily and that are essential for normal life! We will also take a look at your range of motion (ROM) and strength. Both lacking ROM or having too much can cause issues. With strength, we are often strong in certain muscles and weak in others. So making sure we have a good balance can prevent a lot of problems down the road.
If you are an athlete, we will probably dive into some of the skills required for your sport or activity to ensure you can participate safely. We may ask you to bring in your sports equipment to check quality and see how you move with it. Checking for imbalances can be especially important for athletes as they tend to do a lot of the same repetitive motions while playing.
This is also a great opportunity to ask your Physical Therapist about those little issues that may occasionally bother you, but aren’t stopping you from doing what you want. It’s a perfect time to address and take care of them before they become a hindrance to your life!
Does Everyone Need a Physical Therapy Wellness Session?
Everyone could benefit from a Wellness Session! Whether you like to read and crochet or compete in triathlons, it all involves movement! Those who enjoy more relaxed activities can get tips on positioning and stretching to alleviate prolonged positions and muscle stiffness. People who go nonstop can learn about relative rest to allow for healing and make sure they are not at risk for overuse injuries.
Others like to schedule a Wellness Visit with a specific goal in mind! Maybe they want to complete a 5K run this summer or their grandbabies are getting active and they want to keep up or they want to start weightlifting. These are all great reasons to see your PT as they can give you the tools and guidance to safely achieve the goal you set out to conquer!
Finally, you can discuss with your Physical Therapist if you’d like some type of follow-up. It could be in person, virtual, or simply an email. You might desire regular, more frequent follow-ups if you’re working toward a long-range goal. Or if you’re content with a basic yearly wellness visit, it can be a good idea to check in at some point to make sure everything you learned is still going well and that you don’t have any questions. No matter your follow-up frequency, we always want you to feel comfortable with what you’re working on and why, so don’t hesitate to ask questions! The more it makes sense to you, the more helpful it will be!
How Do I Start?
Check out https://www.conciergeortho.co/ to find a provider near you! You can read their profiles online to get an idea if they would be a good fit for you!
Reach out to the PT of your choice with any questions or to get started! Happy Health!
Hear more from Dr. Werth on her Instagram page.