Most people are unaware of the fact that it is necessary for them to schedule a checkup with their physical therapists. It is common to find people promptly taking their vehicles to the mechanic for routine servicing to avoid breakdowns. And ensure that their automobiles are in optimal working condition. Why then, would you ignore the most valuable operating machine, your body? Just like cars, our bodies are also made of moving parts that are susceptible to friction and damage. Therefore they requires them to be serviced as much as possible. Your bones, joints, muscles as well as connective tissue are usually in constant motion and dictate your active life. It thus makes it crucial to have a routine checkup to improve your wellbeing.

One of the reasons why people ignore physical therapy exams is because they do not understand their purpose. Physical therapy exams focus on the musculoskeletal system and thus assess one’s ability to move both freely and independently. The function of a physical therapist is to ensure that a person’s strength, balance, and flexibility are not hindered by limitations like pain or injury thus improving their quality of life. Physical therapists strive to ensure a high quality of life for people who desire to remain active and independent. This is only achievable through identifying issues that have the potential to cause long-term health problems.

The “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it” mentality is a gamble that should never be taken with your wellbeing. People often believe that physical therapy appointments should only be scheduled when they are unable to move. Or when the pain becomes unbearable, but this only hampers recovery while ensuring long-term problems. Going for routine checkups makes you proactive in enhancing your quality of life by countering any looming issues before they materialize as threats to an active life. Pre-habilitation can be considered to be often more vital than rehabilitation because it helps identify underlying issues, which allows you to remain healthier for extended periods.

When should you visit a physical therapist

  • Check up- Twice a year for a movement assessment, just as you would see a dentist for your regular cleaning. This gives the physical therapist  a chance to help improve your movement patterns and ultimately prevent injuries.
  • When you plan on trying out a new training program or indulging in a new sport.
  • When you begin straining, experiencing pain or discomfort after performing an activity that has been part of your routine.
  • After coming out of any surgery or a condition that resulted in extended periods of bed rest.

When to see a primary care provider first

If you are in extreme pain, have an acute injury, or cannot function properly (you can’t walk or lift your arm or or otherwise so inhibited you can’t move throughout daily life), definitely see a Medical Doctor. They can refer you to a specialist, request imaging, or determine if you need surgical or nonsurgical medical interventions. For example, when a ligament or muscle is torn, an MRI may be critical in determining the plan of care. You should be assessed by the appropriate doctor who can then refer you for imaging and go over the results and their implications with you. After that, they will likely suggest physical therapy, or you can ask if it would be appropriate as part of your treatment.

People often believe that as they get older, pain is inevitable as the body loses most of its youthful vigor since the musculoskeletal system has endured a lot of strain. Even though this might be true to some extent, physical therapists can uncover more symptoms that patients are usually unaware of and relieve them of the pain that they believed was part of their normal lives.

Physical Therapists

Physical therapists have the required knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to conduct a complex screening that is crucial in monitoring the overall health of patients. In our centre for instance, a physical therapist assessment includes, a spine scanning machine used to assess the tension in both the nerves and muscles, which lets the physical therapist know problem areas and the best way to improve a patient’s quality of life. Mobility and active tests as well as physical examination go along way in determining the same.  Go get that physical therapy checkup and allow yourself to experience life like a fine-tuned vehicle ready to encounter any bumps on your path!

References:

  • CORA, 2018. We Recommend a Yearly Physical. [online] CORA Physical Therapy. Available at: <https://www.coraphysicaltherapy.com/why-we-recommend-a-yearly-physical/#:~:text=Even%20if%20you’re%20not,you%20regularly%20experience%20are%20treatable.>
  • Net Health, 2022. Why See a Physical Therapist Annually? – Balance Physical Therapy. [online] Balance Physical Therapy. Available at: <https://balancept.com/why-physical-therapy-should-be-on-everyones-annual-checkup-list/>

Written By:
Edith Ndichu,
Customer Service Manager

Shifting from  ‘If It Isn’t Broke Don’t Fix It’ Mentality

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