If you’ve never been involved in a physical therapy program before, it’s natural to have a lot of questions. How long does physical therapy take? Is it expensive? Will my health insurance cover the costs? Or does it even work? Working with an experienced Denver physical therapy office can quickly answer all of these questions for you and more, including a very important one: does physical therapy hurt?
Here, we’re taking a closer look into the world of physical therapy to learn more about this innovative and effective approach to care. We start out by defining physical therapy, investigating the different types of physical therapy, and then answer one of the most pressing questions any first time patient will have—does physical therapy hurt?
What is Physical Therapy?
First things first—what exactly is physical therapy? According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapy can be understood as a specific type of treatment that incorporates the evaluation, the assessment, and then of course the treatment of patients who are experiencing an injury, illness, or recovering from a car accident or sports-related injury. Physical therapy is ideal for treating a wide range of different health problems and patients.
When you visit a physical therapy office, your physical therapist will be a licensed healthcare provider. Your physical therapist works closely with the patients with a unique hands-on treatment plan. A physical therapy program incorporates a selection of certain exercises and stretches designed specifically for your healthcare and recovery needs in mind. Over time and with commitment to the physical therapy program, these exercises can help your body heal and even boost your overall fitness and wellness.
What are the Different Types of Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is designed to help patients recover from injuries or illnesses and get on track to a healthier lifestyle. But physical therapy can also be broken down into several “sub-specialties” that focus on specific patients, injuries, or healthcare needs.
Here’s a look at six of the most common types of physical therapy:
- Neurological physical therapy: this type of physical therapy helps patients recover from a range of neurological conditions. This may include diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease or a stroke. Patients recovering from severe spinal or brain injuries may also benefit from neurological physical therapy.
- Occupational physical therapy: this form of therapy focuses on helping workers properly fulfill their duties from a safety and wellness standpoint. Often used following a work-related accident, occupational physical therapy can help individuals perform their jobs even better.
- Pediatric physical therapy: as the name suggests, this type of physical therapy is focused on helping children, including infants, toddlers, and adolescents. This may address genetic conditions, severe injuries, trauma to the head, and more.
- Geriatric physical therapy: the opposite approach here, geriatric physical therapy helps elderly individuals recover from injuries and live more active lives.
- Rehabilitation physical therapy: this type of specialized physical therapy helps individuals recover from surgeries and major injuries.
- Hand physical therapy: the name is a bit misleading, as this form of care actually works to address injuries or ailments, like arthritis, that affect the entire upper arm.
Does Physical Therapy Hurt?
Physical therapy is recognized as a safe and effective form of care, but this doesn’t mean that many potential patients don’t still have valid questions or concerns. Before beginning a physical therapy program, it’s natural to have many questions about this hands-on type of healthcare. One of the most common questions tends to focus on whether or not receiving physical therapy will hurt.
So, does physical therapy hurt? Well, this question is not as simple as it may first seem to answer as it depends on a variety of factors, such as the patient’s fitness level, age, the extent of their injury, and even their genetics and medical history. However, for most patients, physical therapy is not a painful process. It may be uncomfortable at times as your body works to heal, but physical therapy is designed to relieve pain—not cause even more of it.
A physical therapy program is based on a set of exercises and specially selected stretches that work with your body to assist in recovering from injuries. As your body works to recover, it’s natural for the patient to experience slight pain or mild discomfort as you’re stressing your body to work through the injury. So yes, physical therapy can be painful at times, but most patients do not report significant levels of pain.
But when a patient works with an experienced, licensed physical therapist, the physical therapist will do everything they can to minimize the pain and discomfort that could be experienced during the program. As a patient, you should always be as open with your physical therapist as possible. This will let them know when something hurts and which exercises or stretches in particular are causing excess pain. Your physical therapist will then make the necessary adjustments to ensure that your treatment plan is as safe, painless, and effective as possible.
If you’re recovering from an injury or dealing with an illness or ailment, physical therapy could be right for you. No matter your ailment, age, or current fitness level, physical therapy can be an incredibly effective form of treatment. Receiving physical therapy from an experienced physical therapist can help your body heal naturally, and faster, to boost your recovery.
Additionally, physical therapy offers so much more to patients. Physical therapy can provide quick pain relief, improve your joint mobility, and boost your overall athletic performance and wellness. As a holistic approach to care, physical therapy is safe and even preferred over types of care like surgery or medication. While you may experience a little bit of discomfort during your exercises and stretches, physical therapy as a whole is not painful for most patients. Safe, effective, and practically pain free—what could be better when it comes to finding the healthcare program for you?