Every year, millions of people suffer an injury that requires a certain degree of rehabilitation. Physical therapy is a health care profession that aids individuals in restoring mobility and function from problems arising from an accident, aging, and environmental conditions. A physical therapist will determine which part of the body is impaired, and suggest exercises and movements to strengthen and support that part of the body to increase mobility.
If the shoulder or arms are affected, simple movements involve stretching the arm gently in various positions, and using isometrics, or resistance to strengthen the muscles.
- Clasp hands together, and raise them over head ten times.
- Standing next to a wall, walk the fingers up the wall as far as possible, and hold for a count of ten. Repeat ten times.
- Stand with your back against the wall, and keeping elbows straight, push arms against the wall. Hold for a count of ten. Repeat ten times
- Keep elbows bent at 90 degrees, and raise hand toward stomach while holding a light weight (a soup can is a handy weight). Slowly return. Repeat ten times.
For low back pain, simple exercises involve moving the legs and hips to restore flexibility and strengthen the lower back muscles. Stretching and isometrics are effective to minimize pain and increase mobility.
- Lying on your back, flex the ankles backward and forward. Repeat ten times.
- Bend your knees while lying on your back and place your hands below your ribs. Make your abdominal muscles tighter and hold for a count of five. Repeat ten times.
- Stand so that both feet are holding your weight equally. Gently lift your heels up and down ten times.
- While lying on back and bending your legs, grasp one thigh below knee. Straighten the leg until you feel a slight pull behind the thigh. Hold for a count of twenty. Repeat on both legs five times.
- Lie on your back at the edge of a bed, holding your knees toward you. One at a time, lower the leg while the knee is bent until you feel a slight pull. Hold for a count of twenty, repeat five times on each side.
If the knee is affected, exercises will focus on the hamstring, and muscles of the calf.
- Holding onto a chair for balance, grasp one ankle from behind and pull toward your back. Hold for a count of twenty.
- Sit tall with both legs extended in front. With your palms on the floor beside you, slide your palms toward your feet. Hold for a count of thirty.
- Stand with your back, hands and hips against a wall. Move your feet about two feet away from the wall. Slowly slide down until you are almost in a sitting position, hold for a count of five or ten, and then slowly slide up.
- Hold on to two chairs, one on each side. Raise one leg in front, putting your weight on the other leg. Lower yourself slowly, putting your weight on the heel of the supporting leg. Hold for a count of three to five, and then raise yourself straight.
Due to so many injuries occurring each year, physical therapists are one group of therapists in great demand. They are trained medical professionals that provide specific treatment programs to help patients recover more quickly and return to their daily routine.