Signs It's Time To See A Physical Therapist

30 April 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Have you been injured while running, moving heavy boxes, playing sports or hiking? When over-the-counter pain medication and ice don't do the trick, do you know when it's time to see a physical therapist? Here are a few surefire signs that can help.

Lingering Pain -- When you tear a muscle during a long marathon-training run, it's best to not run through it like some runners do. Ice several times a day for 20 minutes and see how you feel. Does the pain go away after a day or two or does it stick around? If you've taken a break from running for a few days and the pain is still persistent, a trip to a physical therapist, like St. Luke's Rehabilitation, can help heal muscles faster. A good rule of thumb is to see the therapist on the 3rd day of persistent pain. 

Unhelpful Medicine -- Many people simply pop a few anti-inflammatory pills after a knee injury and hope that it goes away. When you've upped your dosage and are still distracted or hindered by pain, it's time to see a professional for help. A PT can get you the right brace and do exercises with you to strengthen the muscles around the injured area. In the future, you can avoid knee injuries by maintaining a healthy weight and steering clear from high heels, which strain your calves and weaken the knees. 

Dull, Chronic Pain -- You may be tempted to wait it out if your recurring back pain flairs up again. It's especially easy to do so if the pain is manageable. However, it's a sign of underlying problems. You may have arthritis, sciatica, or a slipped disc. A physical therapist can use heat therapy, vibration machines, and specific stretches to cure your pain for good.

Try a few yoga poses before you go to prepare your back. A great one is Child's Pose. Just kneel down on the floor and lower your torso so your head is touching the ground. Stretch your arms out in front of you as far as you can reach. This loosens up stiff lower back muscles.

Preventative Care -- You don't have to be injured to go see a physical therapist. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Especially if you sit at a desk all day, it can be helpful to talk to a physical therapist about your sitting posture. Work with them to improve your muscles to prevent back pain. If you are older and worried about slip-and-fall accidents, a PT can help you strengthen your balance and agility to avoid a scary fall. Or if you're a high-performance athlete, a PT can do specific exercises with you to prevent a sports related injury. 

Whatever the cause of your pain is, working with a physical therapist can nip it in the bud and prevent it from happening again.