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How Physical Therapy Can Help the Geriatric Patient


Along with the increased activity level of baby boomers comes an increase of injuries and health related conditions. Osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, joint replacement, and hip replacement are a few of the most common conditions treated through geriatric physical therapy. Patients that have any of these types of health related issues would benefit from physical therapy or even a light exercise routine due to health complications such as muscle weakness, decreased range of motion, and balance issues. People of any age can have complications such as these, but those over the age of 65 can have increased difficulty healing or returning to normal level of function without intervention from a medical professional.

Physical therapy can offer the geriatric population a variety of options such as exercise, manual therapy, and education regarding ways to improve quality of life. According to research conducted by Thomas C. Weiss, “There are various common conditions that can be effectively treated through physical therapy. Among the specific diseases and conditions that might affect older adults which can be improved with physical therapy are arthritis, osteoarthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, amputations, urinary and fecal incontinence, and cardiac and pulmonary diseases. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia’s, coordination and balance disorders, joint replacements, hip fractures, functional limitations related to mobility, orthopedic or sports injuries can also be improved through geriatric physical therapy.”

A physical therapist can combine treatments with modalities, exercises, educational information, and screening programs to accomplish a number of goals with the patients, such as:

* Reduce pain * Improve sensation, joint proprioception * Increase overall fitness through exercise programs * Suggest assistive devices to promote independence * Recommend adaptations to make the person’s home accessible and safe * Prevent further decline in functional abilities through education, energy conservation techniques, and joint protection * Increase, restore or maintain range of motion, physical strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, and endurance * Teach positioning, transfers, and walking skills to promote maximum function and independence within the person’s capability (2010, Disabled World)

As of 2014, individuals have the option to see a physical therapist for an initial evaluation without a prescription from a doctor. If you or anyone you know is unsure if they would benefit from physical therapy, do not hesitate to pick up and call the professionals at Mizuta & Associates (619-564-7120) to see if PT is appropriate for you. If you find that physical therapy is just what the doctor ordered, it would be out pleasure to get you back out there with the other “weekend warriors.”

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