Some lessons of life don’t come easy. As we age, we tend to ignore some pains attributing them as part and parcel of aging. We surmise that if we ignore it or do some massage etc., it will go away in a few days or get better. If it happens, well and good. But most of these aches and pains of aging are because of some issues that need attention.
Ironically, some aches and pains may be because the limbs we don’t use those limbs or joints as much as we should. And for a few people, it could be because they are using it more or wrongly. With age, musculoskeletal problems occur due to decreased bone density, muscle strength, and body coordination. Hence, it is crucial to exercise correctly to accommodate these changes. Common issues in seniors that prevent them from exercising are arthritis, joint pain, neck pain, back pain, muscle stiffness, ligament damage, etc.
Safe exercise with clinical precision backed by a clear understanding of the problems and causes is possible only with the help of a qualified physiotherapist. For grave issues, they may assist for a while for immediate relief and then look at a holistic solution. For minor issues, they will consult and suggest exercise programs that you can follow regularly. It may be surprising for few to know that physiotherapy can counter osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, vertigo, neurological issues, and even cancer and incontinence. Let’s take a quick peep at the benefits.
One of the most significant benefits of physiotherapy for seniors is that it promotes independence. Considering that losing independence is the biggest fear most elders have, this is reason enough to choose physiotherapy. Regular physiotherapy can ensure seniors can do everyday tasks like cooking, cleaning, laundry, and going around independently.
Another big fear of older people is that they may take a fall and injure themselves. Falls occur due to various reasons, mostly due to the weakening of bones and muscles, leading to balance issues. Also, vertigo and neurological issues may be the cause. At times, people may trip and fall due to obstacles, etc. A physiotherapist can train older people to prevent falls. They also help people who have had falls to rehabilitate and become confident again. Also, even if old injuries are causing issues, they suggest an exercise routine to offset those pains. This benefit is crucial as falls can lead to fractures that take a long time to recover and affect the mobility of seniors.
One of the most common reasons why people opt for physiotherapy is pain management. Often, people approach a physiotherapist only when the pain becomes unbearable. Such pain may be caused due to inactivity, tight or weak muscles, limited blood flow, injuries, or health issues like arthritis. Physiotherapy improves blood flow, muscle strength, flexibility, and build strength. These benefits manage the pain in the long run. Hence, even if one has taken physiotherapy for short-term relief from pain, long-term exercises post-recovery should be a part of the discussion.
Physiotherapy helps control symptoms of many serious health conditions such as:
Stroke – To regain mobility of paralyzed parts
Fibromyalgia -To strengthen muscles, reduce inflammation and improve motion
Parkinson’s disease -To control tremors
Multiple sclerosis -To maintain balance and stability
Physiotherapy is a part of the post-surgical recovery for hip and knee replacement surgeries. Even when people have taken falls and had surgeries for the injury or had a cast put on, guided physiotherapy is a must for complete recovery.
Improves bone strength
Physiotherapy benefits seniors as it improves bone strength. It also widens the range of motion for joints and muscles. A physiotherapist trains seniors to use their strengthened bones and muscles wisely to avoid further falls and injuries.
Improves heart health
Regular physiotherapy is beneficial for managing cardiovascular health. We have scientific evidence that proves daily physiotherapy can help reduce the risks of strokes, coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, etc. Considering cardiovascular issues are prevalent among seniors, physiotherapy can help prevent the same.
Improves mental health
Improved health conditions and pain management lends confidence for independent mobility, thus improving the mental health of seniors. They have an improved quality of life and overall well-being that keeps them in a good mood. Also, exercise releases endorphins that help prevent or fight anxiety and depression. Most importantly, physiotherapy is a non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical therapy considered safe.
Note: Physiotherapy is not one remedy that suits all kinds of therapy. Each issue needs a personalized therapy regime which needs to be decided by a qualified physiotherapist.