Health & Wellness

Physical Therapy Can Prevent Surgery and Save Money


With the official start of summer quickly approaching, many of us will be working outdoors or taking care of projects indoors where it’s cool. Either way, injuries can happen.

It might be a shoulder tear picked up while tossing the ball or doing lawn work or a back injury sustained cleaning out a closet. No matter the case, injuries stink.

When pain and lack of range of motion causes a person’s quality of life to be diminished, they often worry that surgery will be necessary to fix the problem. That’s not always the case; however, physical therapy is often a great way to stay out of the OR.

Physical therapists (PTs) use proven techniques and muscular research to get people back in motion. Whether it’s helping a patient with arthritis, a knee or shoulder tear, ankle sprain or fracture, or even a stroke, PTs can intervene and provide appropriate exercises and activities that can prevent surgery, procedures which can sometimes include lengthy recovery time and may be costly.

Physical therapists work with patients to develop a personalized plan that will help them get the most out of their therapy. Multiple treatments implemented by therapists may include electrical stimulation, ultrasounds, and moist heat and cold packs. These assist with decreasing muscle spasms and pain in the tissues surrounding the injury.

And when pain is decreased, range of motion increases and the need for surgery is often diminished.

Other techniques such as massage and joint mobilizations are used to restore function to injured body parts and relieve pressure after pain has decreased. All of these techniques help patients return to their previous quality of life – and most feel even better than before their injury.

Many people suffer from a condition that requires physical therapy. For example, 75 percent of people experience at least one occurrence of back pain a year. It’s not uncommon and patients can receive physical therapy in many places – which makes it convenient to get back to normal life. Physical therapists can deliver treatment in a hospital, doctor’s office or at home. Some patients even continue prescribed exercises themselves.

Unfortunately, sometimes surgery is unavoidable and the recovery process involves physical therapy. The diagnosis may change depending on the surgery and outcome and again, the physical therapist will develop a tailored plan for the patient.

In Berkeley County, physical therapy is now more accessible than ever. Roper Hospital – Berkeley, which has served the area for 20 years, recently opened a new physical therapy center and is taking new patients. For an appointment or consultation, call (843) 899-7700 or toll-free at (800) 846-7707.

It’s important to note that if a person is experiencing pain for a possible injury, it is recommended they visit their personal doctor first for a diagnosis to see if physical therapy is the right option.

Roper St. Francis Healthcare is proud to be the medical services provider of the 2012 PGA.

By Jessica Walters, a physical therapy patient care tech with Roper St. Francis Healthcare

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