6 Things You Can Do to Avoid Needing Physical Therapy

1
How to Stay Out of the PT Clinic

Lance Armstrong look alike in physical therapy
Your physical therapist can help you AVOID injury. Caiaimage/Trevor Adeline/Getty Images

Your physical therapist is a movement expert who is there for you whenever injury or illness prevents you from performing your normal everyday tasks. Your PT should also be able to teach you how to avoid injuries or mobility problems.

Here is a step-by-step idea list of things you can do to keep moving normally and to potentially keep yourself out of the PT clinic. Check them out, and be sure to visit your PT if you are having any problems with functional mobility.

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Maintain Proper Posture

Woman with poor posture sitting at desk in chair
Maintaining proper posture can reduce chances of back pain. Diane Diederich/E+/Getty Images

Low back pain, neck pain, and sciatica are some of the most common reasons that you may visit a physical therapist. Most often, your pain seems to come on out of nowhere and for no apparent reason. Many experts feel that improper sitting and standing posture is a cause of back pain and problems.

You can decrease the likelihood of developing severe back pain or neck pain by learning to attain and maintain proper posture. By keeping good posture, you can limit stress and strain on your spine and keep yourself out of the PT clinic.

3
Avoid Heavy Lifting

Bad posture for lifting something heavy
Heavy lifting can place stres and strain on your back. Wetcake Studio/iStock Vectors/Getty Images

Want to avoid back pain and decrease your need for the skilled services of a PT for back pain? Learn how to lift properly and avoid heavy and repetitive lifting. Lifting heavy items places incredible stress and strain through your back and the intervertebral discs located there.

Avoid heavy lifting, and if you must lift, get a partner to help you and learn how to properly lift items. This can protect your back and keep you out of the PT clinic.

4
Jump and Land Properly During Sports

Picture of a man holding injured knee.
Jumping and landing properly during sports can help you avoid knee pain. PhotoAlto/Sandro DiCarlo Darsa/Getty Images

Knee injuries, like anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprains or meniscal tears, are on the rise in youth and adult sports. Typically, these injuries require significant rehabilitation and may require surgery to fully heal.

One way to reduce your risk of knee injuries is to learn how to jump and land properly while participating in sports. When jumping and landing, your knees should be directly under your shoulders and over your ankles. Your knees suffer from increased stress and strain when they buckle inwards while taking off and landing.

Learning to jump and land properly may prevent dreaded knee injuries and can help keep you away from the rehab clinic.

5
Keep Your Hips Strong

Photo of the ball bridge.
The ball bridge can help keep your hips strong. Brett Sears, PT, 2011

Many studies indicate that common lower extremity injuries, like runner's knee or Iliotibial band friction syndrome, are caused by weakness in your hip muscles. A specific muscle called the gluteus medius is responsible for controlling the position of your leg when walking and running.

Working to keep your hips strong may be one way to avoid overuse injuries and prevent knee pain. This may help keep your relationship with your PT a personal one and not a professional one.

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Avoid Repetitive Overhead Work

Photo of a woman mechanic working on a car.
Working with your arms overhead can cause shoulder pain. Hero Images/ Getty Images

A common cause of shoulder pain is due to rotator cuff impingement. Certain positions place your rotator cuff tendons and the bursa located near them under significant pressure. One such position: working with your hands and arms overhead.

By limiting the amount of time spent working with your arms overhead, you may be able to reduce stress on your shoulders and avoid the need to visit your PT for shoulder pain.

7
Exercise Most Days of the Week

Couple stretching outside
Oana Szekely/Getty Images

No one can deny the benefits of regular physical exercise. the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that people exercise for at least 150 minutes a week. That's 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.

Regular exercise helps to keep your muscles strong and your heart and lungs functioning properly. Failure to exercise can cause pain or may lead to cardiac issues that require significant medical care and a lengthy course of cardiac rehab. Exercise every day, and you may be able to avoid the PT clinic.

Some injuries or illness cannot be avoided, and your physical therapist is there for you whenever you have a problem that limits your normal functional mobility. Your PT also should be an advocate for your good health, and he or she should teach you ways to prevent injuries or illnesses that may limit your mobility. Doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things may be enough to keep you moving and feeling well and keep you out of the PT clinic.

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