At some stage in your life–maybe after an injury or surgery, or just after you reach a certain age– our Palmdale Physical Therapist say there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in a physical therapist’s office.
And as you look around at the balance balls, ultrasound machines, and other contraptions, and as your body is pushed and pulled in a variety of odd and sometimes even painful ways, you may ask yourself:
Does Any of This Stuff Really Help?
Well, yes–and no. And today, thanks to the American Physical Therapy Association, it is easier to distinguish what works from what doesn’t. The organization recently identified five treatments, physical therapists sometimes offer that generally don’t help, are often a waste of time and money, and in some cases can even delay your recovery or pose risks.
The American Physical Therapy Association identified the therapies as part of a campaign called Choosing Wisely, where health care professionals identify treatments they do that aren’t backed by solid scientific evidence. More than 50 medical groups have identified such lists to date, but American Physical Therapy Association is the first, nonphysician group to do so.
Here are the five therapies, you should question, along with advice on what you should do instead.
Heat and cold
A hot pack sure feels good on an aching back or knee. Same for the heat from an ultrasound machine, which can warm the tissue deep inside your body. And a cold pack on a swollen joint can also feel nice. But none of it’s going to help you recover faster.
Ice can ease pain and reduce swelling in an injured joint, and heat can ease sore muscles. But neither will speed your recovery, so don’t waste precious time at the physical therapist’s office on them.
Exercise Machines After Knee Replacement
If you’ve had your knee replaced, you may be strapped into a”continuous passive motion machine” before you leave the hospital and then discharged with the device so you can continue using it at home.
Sounds good–but there’s no evidence that the system achieves those goals, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. In fact, some individuals may use the devices as excuses to avoid the exercises that really can help.
Research shows that starting an exercise-based physical therapy within 24 hours of the operation restores motion, prevents blood clots, and shortens hospital stays.
But if you are offered a constant motion machine for an artificial knee, then just say no-thanks. Read more about how to recuperate from surgery.
Wimpy Exercise Programs
The exercises prescribed by physical therapists, especially for older people are sometimes too easy, using much lighter weights or fewer repetitions than you can handle.
Our Palmdale Physical Therapist say that’s a mistake, since to make gains you have to tax yourself, and the best way to do that is under the supervision of the a trained physical therapist.
What to do instead: The Palmdale Physical Therapist must match the program to your abilities, and add weight, repetitions, or new exercises whenever the task gets too easy. If you think you can handle more, say so.
Bed Rest for Blood Clots
Blood clots in the veins of your leg can break free and travel to your lungs. To avoid that potentially deadly complication, physical therapists have long put patients with one of the clots, called a deep vein thrombosis, or a DVT, on bed rest.
But research now shows that walking with a DVT doesn’t pose risks. In fact, bed rest can cause new clots to form and make existing ones larger.
What to do instead: If you are taking an anticoagulant medication to treat the clot and there is no proof that a clot has traveled into your lungs, you can start walking as soon as your physical therapist provides you the OK.
That can actually ease the pain of the DVT. You can also consider wearing compression stockings, which can prevent blood from pooling in your legs. But refrain from vigorous exercise until you get clearance from your physical therapist. Read more about how to prevent blood clots.