In the past, recovery from injuries or surgery involved bed rest and minimal activities. However, our knowledge of how the body heals and recovers has changed. Today medical professionals want you up and doing a round of physical therapy to speed up healing.
Instead of waiting for the body to recover naturally, physical therapists now use techniques to guide the healing process, resulting in faster recoveries.
Here’s a closer look at some of the new trends in physical therapy that improve long-term patient outcomes.
Trend #1 – The Hands-On Approach
Treatments like iontophoresis, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound used to be relied on heavily by physical therapists, but these treatments don’t actually fix the root of the patient’s problem.
Physical therapists are now using the hands-on approach, using manual therapy to actually correct the issue causing the pain. Manual therapy, often referred to as bodywork, provides multiple benefits, including pain relief, improved flexibility, and relaxation.
Therapists often use manipulations of the joints or bones, skilled massage, or exercises that push, pull, or twist the bones to increase range of motion.
The goal – push the body’s limits a bit to improve recovery. Sometimes allowing patients to feel a bit of pain instead of completely avoiding it can actually speed healing and enable therapists to get to the root of the problem.
Trend #2 – Active Recovery
After an injury or surgery, most medical professionals used to have you keep the area still, resting the area and taking a break from normal activities.
New findings have shown that patients who are active throughout their recovery get better results.
Physical therapy is now started faster after surgery to get patients building up their strength quickly.
Trend #3 – Reduced Use of Assistive Devices
Common assistive devices include splints, special footwear, braces, crutches, and canes While these devices are still used, they are no longer used as often by physical therapists.
Therapists have found that assistive devices that keep the injured area still can make the area even weaker. They have found that movement can increase recovery times.
Trend #4 – Getting Patients Back to Their Former Lifestyle
The main goal of physical therapists used to be increasing range of motion for patients. After a joint surgery, the focus was working to get the complete range of motion back for the joint.
Maximizing range of motion doesn’t always guarantee that patients be able to get back to their previous lifestyle. The new physical therapy trend is to get patients back to their former lifestyle.
Initial goals may include ensuring patients can take care of their own personal care. Then therapists can move on to getting their patients back to activities like climbing the stairs or lifting heavier items.
Eventually, the goal is to get patients back to their normal activities, whether they enjoy horseback riding, playing baseball, or something more extreme like surfing.
New trends in physical therapy are offering patients improved recovery times and better overall outcomes. Getting started with physical therapy is essential to a faster, complete recovery, and the more aggressive treatment today both guides and enhances the healing process so patients can enjoy getting back to their former lifestyle as quickly as possible.