5 Things You Didn’t Know About Physical Therapy

October is National Physical Therapy Month, and Kitsap County physical therapist Hayley Siegenthaler would like to commemorate this by reminding people about the important role improved and restored movement has on their well-being.  

“Movement is central to a person’s quality of life, no matter the age or personal hurdles,” said Siegenthaler, Doctor of Physical Therapy at Kitsap Physical Therapy and Sports Clinics. “Young athletes, expecting and new moms, white- and blue-collar workers, outdoor enthusiasts, seniors intent on maintaining personal independence … it all centers on staying optimally mobile. That’s what we provide as physical therapists.” 

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapists are highly educated, licensed health care professionals who exist to help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility. In many cases, they do this without the need for expensive surgery or the long-term use of prescription drugs. 

“Our bodies crave movement – we need movement,” Siegenthaler said. “Physical therapists (PTs) exist to ensure that everyone, no matter what stage of life they’re in, is able to reach their potential when it comes to living active, mobile and functional lives.” 

This, of course, includes post-injury/surgical rehabilitation. But, physical therapy is much more than that. 

In fact, PTs are specially trained and licensed to improve people’s lives through the treatment of a number of ailments you may not have previously suspected. These include: 

Headaches

Following a thorough evaluation, a physical therapist can treat chronic tension-type headaches. This is the most common headache disorder, according to the World Health Organization. 

A PT can identify the cause of such headaches, such as muscle tension, joint dysfunction in the neck/jaw, poor posture, or stress. They then work with you to improve mobility, strength, posture, and daily work/home routines. 

Pre-Natal/Post-Partum Care

Physical therapists can offer relief for expecting mothers experiencing pain and discomfort in the back, hips and legs through treatment and exercise. 

After delivery, physical therapy is an essential part of recovery. A PT can assist in treating back and pelvic pain while helping new moms strengthen their bodies for the rigors of motherhood. PTs also help moms get back to living an active life and, if they are athletes, competition. 

Oncology:

A PT can assist with many different side effects of oncology management and treatment including lymphedema, fatigue, lost range of motion, etc.  

Balance, Dizziness and Vertigo

Physical therapists can assess a person’s balance and risk of falls, then provide treatment (e.g., strength training, flexibility or range of motion exercises) to help improve balance. 

Many physical therapists are also specially trained to treat positional vertigo. For some, this can be successfully treated in a single visit. 

Athletic Enhancement

From weekend warriors to elite athletes, physical therapists work with our most active to help them move better, train better and realize their greatest potential as competitors. PTs can provide movement analyses, establish a better training regimen, and assist with equipment selection and adjustments (e.g., shoe orthotics or bike fitting). 

According to Siegenthaler, clients don’t need a physician’s referral to directly access physical therapy services – unless, of course, such a referral is required in order to bill insurance. Contact the PT staff at Kitsap Physical Therapy and Sports Clinics to learn more.  

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