As an orthopedic specialist, it can be worrisome to hear a patient say, “Well, I tried doing some physical therapy on my own, but it didn’t work. So now I think I need surgery.” One of the most pervasive myths in sports medicine is that a do-it-yourself approach to physical therapy can work. While it’s certainly true that certain stretches or exercises can help you build strength after an injury, there is no replacement for professional physical therapy.

Why Is Physical Therapy so Important?

To become a physical therapist, a person must complete doctoral-level schooling (a Doctor of Physical Therapy, or DPT, degree). Physical therapists are experts in the science of movement. They work in conjunction with orthopedic surgeons, sports medicine specialists and rehabilitation experts to help patients regain their optimum levels of physical functioning.

Receiving physical therapy may make the difference between a full recovery or a nagging injury that never quite heals. If you’d like to avoid that “bum knee” or “bad shoulder” designation that prevents you from doing the things you love, visiting a physical therapist is an excellent decision.physical therapy

What Can a Physical Therapist Offer That I Can’t Get on My Own?

Receiving physical therapy from a professional provides numerous benefits over doing it on your own. This may include:

  • Comprehensive assessment of injury severity and range of motion.
  • Assessment of gait, balance and ability to perform everyday activities.
  • Use of ultrasound to penetrate tissue, reduce pain, promote muscle relaxation and facilitate recovery.
  • Electrical muscle stimulation to strengthen muscles that are weakened or cannot be stimulated voluntarily.
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation to reduce pain.
  • Therapeutic massage to relax muscles and improve range of motion.
  • Creation of an individualized program of therapeutic exercise designed to increase range of motion, improve strength, boost flexibility and improve overall functional capacity.

Although you may be able to perform stretches and certain exercises at home, doing so may increase your risk of re-injury. Additionally, a physical therapist can help you prevent compensatory injuries caused by favoring your healthy joint or limb.

Everyone deserves the best possible recovery after an injury. Although it’s good to trust your own intuition about the severity of an injury, a comprehensive assessment by sports medicine specialists can help you receive an individualized treatment plan that will help you recover. Physical therapy is an essential part of that recovery process. Contact your Jacksonville orthopedic specialists today if you’d like to learn more about how physical therapy may help you achieve your peak level of functioning.

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