By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
When people break a bone, have surgery or injure themselves in some way, the healing doesn’t stop when the cast comes unwrapped or when the anesthesia wears off, for many, the next step in the healing process is physical therapy. Aurora Mt. Sinai is one of those locations that people can frequently visit for physical therapy.
There are many physical therapy departments throughout the state of Wisconsin but the practice of physical therapy was first recognized during the roaring twenties.
In 1921, the first physical therapy association was formed, according to American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). At that time, it formed under the name American Women’s Physical Therapeutic Association. A year later men were permitted to join and by the forty’s it officially changed its name to APTA.
Although many people associate physical therapy with a sports-related injury, anyone can utilize the services. For example, people with cancer, neurological injuries and orthopedic related ones are all encouraged to seek help in the form of physical therapy. It is also encouraged as a part of post-surgery recovery.
Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease are examples of neurological injuries that can benefit from physical therapy.
For some people, physical therapy may be the first step on their journey of healing and can be an alternative option to surgery.
Aurora offers a Free Injury Evaluation Program which includes a licensed athletic trainer or physical therapist who assess injuries. The screening process is designed to ensure the patient does what’s best for their particular pain. For some this means surgery but for others it can be attending physical therapy sessions.
In addition to the Evaluation Program, Aurora’s Sports Center has several other signature services including an anti-gravity treadmill. While another service is designed for sport-specific performance programs including golf, biking, running and pitching.
Activities such as baseball or tennis can put a strain on certain parts of the body. Due to the repetitive nature of the sport, some people find themselves suffering from “tennis elbow.” Another common sports injury is the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament or ACL. In other words, sport-related injuries often fall under orthopedic due to the “repetitive nature” of the activity.
Part of what makes physical therapy so unique and even a favored option for some cases is that it focuses on the whole person. Aurora works hard with each patient to determine the best strategy and exercises for the individual according to their website. The process includes four steps: injury identification and prevention, education to prevent re-injury, activity modification and healthy lifestyle choices.
The overall objective is that by deepening the patient’s understanding of how an injury occurred they can better modify their life to prevent further injury. Furthermore, they also want the patient to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Although physical therapy may not be the first option for everyone, it’s important to realize it is a viable option and sometimes the preferred alternative depending on the circumstance. The added benefit for many patients, aside from a healthy recovery, is the ability to take what they learn during their sessions and bring it home.
Recovery doesn’t end when physical therapy concludes, but it does make it easier.