If you are struggling with some pain, say back pain or joint pain, you might think of resting for a prolonged period to feel better. But that’s not the proper way to deal with pain, as resting can worsen the problem, weaken the muscles, and slow down recovery.
Therapeutic exercises are the most beneficial treatment options compared to other physical therapy methods. They help decrease pain, build strength, improve flexibility, and restore normal function quickly.
Physical therapists incorporate specifically designed therapeutic exercises while creating the treatment plan and combine them with other effective modalities and techniques to help with a speedy recovery.
What Are Therapeutic Exercises?
Physical therapy is based on therapeutic exercises, which are physical activities and movements aimed at injuries and conditions with limited flexibility, reduced muscular function, and lack of strength. These are specifically designed programs of regular exercises with particular objectives.
The primary goal of incorporating therapeutic exercises in the treatment plan is to improve patient’s physical function, helping them live pain-free lives. It is not safe to perform therapeutic exercises alone as they are specifically targeted to resolve a specific problem. Hence it is advisable to consult a physical therapist before starting any exercise program.
When you consult a physical therapist for your pain, injury, or illness, they review your medical history and conduct a physical examination to evaluate your movements. With the results obtained from these assessments, they create a personalized treatment plan that includes targeted exercises tailored to your fitness needs and goals.
They monitor your progress at each stage of the rehabilitation process, notice whether you are doing the exercises correctly, and modify the plan as your body shows specific improvements.
Different Types of Therapeutic Exercises
Therapeutic exercises are of various types. Physical therapists use them according to the condition or injury they treat as different activities help with pain control.
1) Endurance Training
Endurance training includes aerobic exercises targeting the body’s larger muscle groups to enhance their strength and tolerance. It should elevate resting heart rate and involve repetitive muscle contraction to achieve the full benefits.
The duration of performing aerobic training is essential as some patients may experience side effects such as musculoskeletal pain. A small amount of exercise will not show any benefits, and too much will worsen the symptoms leading to other issues.
Walking, swimming, jogging, and dancing are some examples of aerobic exercises. They should be performed consistently for an extended period for better results. These exercises help maximize the amount of oxygen and nutrients in the blood, aid in weight loss, and reduce the perception of pain, providing pain relief. They strengthen the bones and muscles and help osteoarthritis patients enhance their joint health.
2) Strength Training
Strength training includes resistance exercises of high or moderate intensity to build up muscle mass that naturally declines with age. It can be done with weight machines, free weight, or body weight while targeting a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance.
Strength training is based on functional movements such as lifting, pushing, and pulling to improve the ability to do everyday activities and enhance the quality of life. Push-ups, sit-ups, squats, working with resistance bands, and heavy gardening such as digging and shoveling are some examples of strength training.
These exercises increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, build muscle to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls, protect joints from injury, and help with chronic conditions like back pain and arthritis.
3) Flexibility Exercises
Flexibility exercises help patients who have lost the mobility of their arms or legs due to an injury. They target those muscle groups that have not been used for some time and involve small movements or gentle stretches.
Stretching these muscles helps improve the range of motion and prevent and control pain. Yoga and tai chi are examples of flexibility exercises that help promote pain relief in patients struggling with low back pain, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis.
4) Condition Specific Exercises
Physical therapists utilize therapeutic exercises as their primary source of treatment for chronic neck pain, chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, and other chronic pain conditions. Condition-specific exercises such as cervical flexion have led to neck pain relief in patients who have had neck pain for at least three months.
The typical initial response of people who suffer from pain is to rest and avoid activities. Although therapists recommend rest and immobilization for certain pain-related conditions to allow the body to heal itself, it is not a good idea to rest for a prolonged time as it weakens the muscles and slows recovery.
Hence, medical professionals have always prescribed physical activities as a better treatment to manage and control pain. Exercises treat painful joints and muscles and enhance the ability to perform daily tasks.
Published by Jose Martin