Exploring the Many Benefits of Geriatric Physiotherapy for Seniors
While physiotherapy is often thought of only as a treatment that helps patients heal from injuries, there is so much more to it than meets the eye. As we age, there are many common physical problems ranging from sore joints and reduced mobility to back pain and even more serious diseases like Osteoporosis, MS, and Parkinson’s. Many seniors begrudgingly accept these aches and pains as an inevitable part of aging and learn to live with it, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
That’s where geriatric physiotherapy comes in. Regular appointments with a physiotherapist can help seniors regain their independence and have them feeling years younger. This article will explain the many benefits that physiotherapy can have for seniors by exploring the types of issues people in this age group often experience and how geriatric physiotherapy can help.
What Is Physiotherapy?
Physiotherapy – also known as physical therapy – is a broad practice that helps patients with a variety of physical ailments relating to mobility, rehabilitation, and strength. If you are experiencing physical symptoms that have begun to affect your everyday life, your body may be telling you it’s time to try physiotherapy.
Read More: Top 10 Reasons to See a Physiotherapist
As a trained and licensed medical professional, a physiotherapist is qualified to diagnose physical abnormalities in order to restore or maintain function and mobility. They treat the root of the problem, targeting the underlying cause of their pain and providing hands-on treatment to help patients manage it.
Physio has a wide range of advantages. It uses a variety of methods such as heat therapy, muscle release therapy, mobilization, percussion therapy, joint manipulation, and gentle electrotherapy to treat problems with the musculoskeletal and other bodily systems.
Is it Suitable for Seniors?
Physio is suitable for patients of any age. What makes physiotherapy such a great option for seniors is that it can work preventatively, helping to prevent a condition or injury before it happens and prevent re-injury and chronic pain from recurring. This is useful for many common concerns associated with age. For example, a senior patient who visits their physiotherapist regularly will have a smaller risk of severely injuring themselves after a fall.
Geriatric physiotherapy – a specialized form of physio that many people aren’t even aware exists – can also help seniors keep the routine aches and pains that come with aging at a manageable level. This will help them live their lives to the fullest and continue to do the things that they enjoy without being hindered by joint pain or limited mobility.
Common Concerns in Older Age That Can Be Treated with Physiotherapy
Arthritis is the swelling of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are tenderness, pain, and stiffness – and unfortunately, this only worsens with age. The most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (affecting the bones) and rheumatoid arthritis (affecting the immune system).
If you or a loved one are experiencing recurring joint pain from arthritis that is not being treated effectively by medication or alternative treatments such as chiropractic medicine, you may benefit instead from physiotherapy.
Bone is living tissue that is being broken down and regenerated on a constant basis. A patient suffering from osteoporosis will experience brittle or weak bones – so any mild stress from bending over to coughing can cause a pretty severe fracture. These fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist, or spine. It is most common in smokers, especially seniors who may have smoked for many years.
For seniors who experience limited mobility or balance issues that put them at a higher risk for a fall, this can be a serious problem. Luckily, bone tissue can be strengthened and restored through certain types of exercise. Physiotherapy can prevent bone thinning, reduce falls that put you at risk of osteoporosis-related injuries, and, of course, help with pain management.
Whether it’s reoccurring dull pain or lingering acute pain, no one should have to live with chronic pain. For seniors, in particular, chronic pain can seriously interfere with a patient’s ability to live comfortably and participate in the activities they enjoy.
Often, elderly patients will experience chronic pain from old injuries that never healed properly. Whatever the cause, a physiotherapist will determine the underlying issue and help relieve chronic pain through a gentle but effective treatment plan designed specifically for seniors.
Reduced Strength or Mobility
It can be incredibly frustrating to be unable to do the things you once could, from making a trip to the grocery store to going on a walk, or attending your grandchild’s school play or dance recital. For seniors, especially, the limited mobility and strength that comes with age can be a frustrating reminder of their dwindling independence.
A physiotherapy plan tailored for seniors involves gentle, repetitive mobilization techniques such as exercise and stretching. Along with electrical stimulation and other therapies, this will relax the muscles and tissues in the problem areas and help strengthen the supporting tissues to restore the patient’s flexibility, strength and mobility.
Read More: 8 Signs It May Be Time for Physiotherapy
For a senior, recovering from surgery can be a long and arduous process. For this reason, physiotherapists will often provide at-home care for elderly patients recovering from a recent surgery.
Loss of Independence
The aging process is bound to slow you down, no matter how active you once were. These aches and pains can be frustrating, but not as frustrating as the knowledge that – whether we like it or not – we may need more help in our day to day lives than we used to. However, with physiotherapy, you can remain active and enjoy your lifestyle without causing any extra pain in your muscles and joints.
Your physiotherapist will show you how to move properly during your day-to-day activities in order to minimize the risk of falling, plus improve overall function. Through strength-building exercises, you can be confident that if an accident does happen, you’ll recover more quickly and be back to your regular activities in no time.
No matter your age, if you are experiencing persistent pain, loss of strength, or limited mobility, physiotherapy can help give you the confidence to perform daily tasks and activities without hindrance. Getting old does not mean you have to be a shadow of your younger self – aches and pains are inevitable, but they can be managed, and sometimes even cured.
Book an appointment today to find out how geriatric physiotherapy can help you or your loved one.