The start of a new year is an excellent time to evaluate our health and seek ways to improve the quality of life for ourselves and those we love. Let’s face it, parenting is HARD in every single way. Especially for new mothers. Your body is healing from pregnancy and childbirth, you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding a baby for long periods of time with poor posture, and you have to carry All. The. Things.
Often all at the same time.
In reality, chronic pain is an issue many people deal with daily, and it can be debilitating. The healthcare system can be overwhelming, making it hard to know where to begin. The CDC recommends opting for safer methods such as physical therapy (PT) over opioid prescriptions for most long-term pain. Did you know Oklahoma is the third highest prescriber of long-acting and extended release opioids?
Here are some facts about PT:
- According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “Physical therapists are movement experts who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.” And despite what you’ve heard, PT does not stand for “physical torture.” A physical therapist will work within your threshold of pain to help you heal and restore function. In Oklahoma, many physical therapists have a doctorate and you do not need a physician referral to be evaluated by a physical therapist.
- Many people know that physical therapists work in private orthopedic clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools. Did you know they also work in aquatic centers, gyms, and make house calls? In Oklahoma, Sooner Start is a FREE program for children aged 0-36 months with developmental delays. As part of this program, a physical therapist may come to the child’s home or daycare to give them an extra boost. Contact your health department for additional info.
- Physical therapists treat more than just spine, knee, and shoulder pain. They also specialize in treating:
- Pediatric Conditions: PTs work with children of all ages (including infants in the NICU). They can work with children with developmental delays in a variety of settings. They excel at educating and troubleshooting with families.
- Vertigo: Many pain issues are not a quick fix, but occasionally physical therapy can treat a certain type of vertigo (BPPV) with only a couple of easy treatments. This is life altering for a person who can’t drive due to vertigo!
- Pelvic pain: Women SHOULD NOT have continued pelvic pain and urinary incontinence after childbirth! Women’s health physical therapists can conduct an exam and give specified treatment plans for these embarrassing and uncomfortable conditions.
- Constipation: Yep, physical therapy can help with this too. Also, you can help set your child up for success when potty training by creating these helpful toileting habits. Hint: those little toes should not be hanging in the air.
- Cancer-related fatigue and lymphedema.
- PREVENTION: Physical therapists are excellent educators. Talk to a physical therapist for help with designing a new exercise regimen, using proper body mechanics at work or at home (parents are always lifting!), or when trying to avoid ACL injury for your teenage soccer star or preventing falls in your aging parents.
These are just a few examples of the many conditions treated by a physical therapist. If you aren’t sure if your problem can be treated by a physical therapist, talk to your primary care physician or call a local physical therapist. If you’re worried about cost or time constraints, communicate your concerns to your physical therapist and work together to develop a program that works for you.
OKC has many amazing physical therapists who are committed to helping you live your best life in 2019!