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Could physical therapy help you?

Many Americans suffer from neck or back pain or encounter any number of conditions that prevent them from participating in normal activities at some point in their lives. Whether it's a muscle strain caused by running or you've been diagnosed with arthritis, or you've recently had surgery, physical therapy may help you get on the road to recovery. According to Jeff Zelenski, physical therapist and manager of Enloe's Outpatient Rehabilitation Program, Enloe Outpatient Therapy provides hands-on physical, occupational and speech therapy. Every patient visit is scheduled with a licensed therapist for 45 to 60 minutes of individualized patient care.

How can physical therapy help?

Physical therapy encompasses the treatment, healing and prevention of injuries and disabilities. Physical therapists are experts in movement and function. They develop individualized treatment programs to help people to prevent and recover from injury and major illnesses and disabilities. They help to restore and improve motion to achieve long-term quality of life. They are also specialists when it comes to preventing falls and improving balance and coordination. Physical therapists restore function and mobility across the lifespan, working with all ages, from infant to senior. Some of the most common reasons that people seek physical therapy include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder, arm or hand problems – including carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Arthritis
  • Rehabilitation after serious injury – including work, auto and sports injuries
  • Amputations
  • Sprains or muscle strains
  • Fractures
  • Balance/fall prevention
  • Post-operative rehabilitation
  • Osteoporosis
  • Knee, ankle or foot problems
  • Posture problems – including scoliosis
  • Newborn or infant disabilities
  • Heart or stroke rehabilitation
  • Neurologic issues such MS or Lou Gehrig’s
  • Hand therapy
  • Women’s and men’s health

Physical therapists can help people to improve the use of their bones, muscles, joints and nerves through exercise, joint and soft tissue mobilization, education and modalities like laser, ultrasound, heat, electrical stimulation and hydrotherapy. They can offer advice on proper posture and body motion in the workplace, treating injuries, keeping fit and the administration of physical therapy in the home.

What to expect from physical therapy

Each individual is different, so each physical therapy experience and program is unique. The first step at an appointment is an evaluation, where the physical therapist assesses posture, gait, range of motion, strength, reflexes and more, depending on the injury or condition. This will help the therapist develop an effective treatment plan and monitor the progress being made throughout treatment.

The type of condition an individual has will dictate how often they work with their therapist. Therapy typically involves these aspects and more:

  • Pain relief
  • Strength and flexibility training
  • Proper postural alignment
  • Regaining movement or range of motion
  • Balance and coordination training
  • Relaxation and stress relief techniques

The therapist will also design an appropriate home exercise program and teach pain-relief methods and preventive measures for home and work. "There is no standard timetable for finishing physical therapy. It all depends on the individual and his or her condition and progress toward therapy goals. We develop a customized plan for every patient to progress at his or her own pace," says Zelenski.

A treatment alternative

More people are undergoing physical therapy as an alternative to surgery or medication, or they're using it as a first step in treatment in hopes of avoiding those options. If you think you could be a candidate for physical therapy, speak to your physician.

Enloe outpatient therapy services

The highly trained therapists at Enloe's Outpatient Therapy provide expansive and comprehensive services for multiple conditions and injuries. This includes orthopedic rehabilitation; manual therapy; therapy for neurological conditions; balance and vestibular rehabilitation; pre- and post-operative therapy, including joint replacement; spine care; workman's compensation; geriatric therapy; pediatric therapy; cranio-sacral therapy; sports rehabilitation/injury prevention; women's health; men's health; and aquatic therapy. Our therapists evaluate the specific needs of each patient and select a technique or a combination of techniques
to serve each individual's needs.

Enloe's Outpatient Therapy Services are located at 340 W. East Ave. in the Enloe Rehabilitation Center. Appointments can be made by calling (530) 332-6110. For more information, visit www.enloe.org/therapy.

For people who are experiencing long-term or chronic pain, the Enloe Rehabilitation Center now houses a Pain Management & Rehabilitation Clinic, led by Dr. Shawn Furst, D.O., an interventional pain specialist and physiatrist. The clinic works to determine the cause of pain and create an appropriate treatment plan that can help to alleviate pain and improve quality of life and function. For more information, visit www.enloe.org/pmr.


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This publication does not constitute professional medical advice. Although it is intended to be accurate, neither the publisher nor any other party assumes liability for loss or damage due to reliance on this material. If you have medical questions, consult your medical professional. Images may be ©iStock, ©Fotolia. ©2015 Bluespire Marketing | bluespiremarketing.com.

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