Prevent injuries with physical therapyMay 9, 2016
As physical therapists, a majority of our practice focuses on rehabilitating clients who sustained some form of musculoskeletal or neurological injury. This is the classic model of physical therapy practice. But, with direct access to physical therapy in New Jersey, the role of PT in health enhancement and injury prevention has expanded. Many states have direct access laws including New Jersey. This is a model in which you can see a physical therapist without a referral from a physician.
Physical therapists consider themselves to be experts in mobility dysfunction and musculoskeletal conditions. The scope of a physical therapist practice allows us to see patients without a referral, examine them thoroughly, diagnose musculoskeletal and balance dysfunction, and develop a plan of care (treatment) to improve function, decrease pain, regain mobility, and in many instances help prevent injuries.
What you do in your daily life is extremely important, but how you do these things may also be as important to reduce the risk for injury. Many overuse injuries and repetitive movement injuries may be prevented by addressing biomechanical and kinematic dysfunctions in our body (how our joints move, and how different forces impact our bodies as we move). A physical therapist can identify movement dysfunctions by simply evaluating how an individual moves or performs their sport. Once those dysfunctions have been identified, we can then make recommendations and modifications for more efficient and safer patterns of movement, therefore reducing the risk for injury.
Many injuries that occur from weight training, recreational jogging, biking, and weekend sports may be prevented with specific recommendations catered toward an individual. This is a key concept to understand. General recommendations and suggestions may be helpful in some instances, but an individualized evaluation of how you move is much more effective because of its specificity to your activities, body, and individual needs.
There have been many research articles published on injury prevention. In a 2010 issue of current Sports Medicine reports, authors state that there is strong evidence suggesting prevention of common lower leg running injuries. Such prevention mainly consists of proper training progression and training modifications. Evaluation for flat footedness and leg length discrepancy, followed by proper recommendations may also decrease the risk of injury.
The research has not only looked at running injuries, but also at weight training, cross training, and many other sports.
Physical therapists provide preventative services and may promote health and fitness, without the need for a prescription from a doctor. At db Orthopedic Physical Therapy we consider ourselves experts in mobility dysfunction, sports medicine, and musculoskeletal conditions. We can also provide you with appropriate referral if your condition is not in our scope of practice.