HomeHealthGeriatric Physical Therapy: Understanding...

Geriatric Physical Therapy: Understanding Why It Is Important for the Elderly

As you age, your bones can become brittle, you can lose muscle mass, you may experience balance challenges and your body can lose its flexibility. These physical changes impact everything from how you move to your general comfort level. However, physical therapy can stop or slow these changes. As you search for physical therapy near me, this is what you should know about geriatric physical therapy.

What Is Geriatric Physical Therapy?

During geriatric physical therapy, practitioners focus on evaluating the needs of older adults. They review your health, muscle tone and balance. They should discuss any chronic pain and diseases you may have. Then, these professionals build a customized treatment program that helps you address any challenges you currently face as well as those you may face in the future.

What Types of Therapy Treatments Are Available?

You may receive manual therapies, such as exercises that improve your gait, balance, flexibility and coordination. These therapies can also help you prevent falls. Your therapist should discuss safety precautions and fall prevention strategies at home and while you are out. In addition, your therapist may suggest pain treatments.

You can also get training for specific challenges, such as gait training, balance and coordination training and help with assistive devices, such as canes, braces and walkers. Your therapist may also work with you on fine motor functions.

What Conditions Does Geriatric Physical Therapy Work On?

If you take a look at physical therapy jobs California, you can find out the specialized skills and certifications these therapists have to treat your conditions. This type of therapy works well for those who have osteoporosis, which weakens your bones because it strengthens them and increases their density in addition to reducing your fall risk. You may also receive physical therapy after major cardiac episodes.

Pain challenges, such as arthritis, which can also impact your range of motion and cause joint stiffness, also benefit from physical therapy. Diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia, also benefit from physical therapy. These diseases cause reduced mobility, tremors, balance challenges, stiffness and movement impediments. Physical therapy can help you gain more control over your movements, improve balance and coordination and increase flexibility, strength and balance.

What Does It Look Like To Participate in Geriatric PT?

In your therapy sessions, you will start with an evaluation of your current physical health and needs. You will likely complete stretches for your lower and upper body. Then, your therapist may work with you on endurance training, likely using machinery like stationary bikes and treadmills. These exercises improve your cardiac and pulmonary health. For pain, you may receive therapeutic massage, dry needling, ultrasound or other therapies.

You may also participate in strength training for your lower and upper body. These exercises target major muscle groups and may include standing from a seated position, leg lifts and stepping up and down. Your therapist will also help you using balancing exercises, including helping you balance on uneven surfaces, shifting your weight from leg to leg, heal-toe walking and marching or walking exercises. 

If you want to be in better physical health and protect your body as you age, find out what certified physical therapists, such as those at physical therapy Vista CA, can do to help you.

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