Knee pain is very common, and if you are dealing with knee pain then you will probably see a Physical Therapist at some point. This is a step in the journey towards pain relied. A physical therapist is a highly educated, licensed professional who can treat a wide variety of injuries, diseases and chronic conditions.
The main goal of physical therapy is to improve your daily quality of life by decreasing your pain while increasing your mobility. If you are someone who has pain or difficulty getting up and down from a chair, walking the distance of a grocery store, going up and down stairs, or have been avoiding some of these activities due to pain, stiffness or weakness, then you probably should see a physical therapist for help.
HOW PHYSICAL THERAPY CAN HELP WITH KNEE PAIN?
If you are dealing with knee pain then you doctor might recommend you to see a physical therapy. At your appointment your therapist will examine the strength and range of motion in your knee, check your balance and functional abilities (like walking and stair climbing), ask you what your goals are, and then create a personalized treatment plan to relieve your knee pain and restore your mobility.
Physical therapy treatments for knee pain may include:
- balance training
- gait training
- joint mobilization/stabilization
Some other aspects of your physical therapy treatment plan might include the use of heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation or athletic taping. Your physical therapist might also provide advice on the use of braces, orthotics and other assistive devices. Your physical therapist will also create a comprehensive home exercise program that will help you maintain your quality of life outside of your therapy sessions.
WHEN CAN KNEE PAIN PATIENTS BENEFIT FROM PHYSICAL THERAPY?
Depending on the extent of your knee pain and your unique medical history, physical therapy may be a very effective non-surgical means of treatment. For issues like meniscal tears and mild to moderate osteoarthritis, studies have shown that physical therapy can improve your quality of life, and in some cases, prevent surgical intervention.
It is a possibility that your doctor will decide that surgery is the best option for you. If you need surgery then doing physical therapy can still be an essential part of your recovery process pre and/or post surgery. You might think it is strange to see a physical therapist prior to your surgery, but there are a variety of reasons why you should. The goals of your pre-surgical physical therapy might include some strength development, education and development of a home exercise routine. This is typically known as “pre-hab”.
Research has shown that patients who participate in pre-hab sessions with a physical therapist can have a faster surgical recovery time. It can also lead to needing less intensive therapy sessions post surgery. The stronger and more educated you are pre surgery, then the stronger, more mobile and more confident you will be post surgery.
Additionally, after any type of knee surgery, whether it is an arthroscopic procedure or a partial or a total joint replacement, then you will be referred to a physical therapist for a short duration. This is important in order to help you regain your mobility, improve your strength and balance, learn how to walk without an assistive device, advance your home exercise program and get back to your previous work, family and recreational activities.
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY?
Almost all insurance plans cover outpatient physical therapy (including Medicare and Medicaid), but you should check with your insurance provider first just to be sure you’re covered. In addition, you will need a prescription, or “script”, from a physician. Sadly you can’t just walk into a physical therapy office and start getting treatment. You can get a script from your your primary care provider, a physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) doctor, or an orthopedic surgeon. Once you have your “script,” contact Peak Wellness for an appointment. We’d love to play a role in helping you overcome knee pain and get back to doing what you love.