How Can Physical Therapy Help Me After Illness?

Strengthening from General Weakness by Deborah Haggard, PTA

Physical therapists help individuals suffering from weakness, shortness of breath and fatigue gradually improve their activity tolerance. Your physical therapist will design a personalized treatment plan based on your specific needs. The plan will help you regain the ability to perform necessary daily physical activities and return to the things you enjoy.

Your physical therapist can help you regain your strength by:

Educating your family. Your physical therapist will educate you and your family about the harmful effects of prolonged sitting, inactivity, and bed rest. They will teach you ways to prevent and limit frailty.

Improving motion. Your physical therapist will choose specific activities and methods to help restore your movement. These may begin with “passive” motions that the physical therapist performs for you to move your joints gently. Then you may progress to “active” exercises and stretches that you can do yourself.

Improving flexibility. Your physical therapist will determine if any of your muscles are tight. They will teach you exercises to loosen them up, and to keep them flexible.

Improving strength. Your physical therapist will choose the correct exercises for you and recommend the proper equipment to use. Doing these exercises will help you steadily and safely restore your strength, power, and muscular endurance.

Returning to previous activities. Your physical therapist will create activity goals with you and use them to set long-term goals to help lessen any future injury or decline.

Improving aerobic endurance. Your physical therapist will help you improve the capacity of your heart and lungs (aerobic endurance) through prescribed exercise, so you can safely return to your desired activities. If you suffer from fluctuating oxygen levels your clinician will monitor levels and can teach you breathing and positioning techniques that can improve oxygenation to your heart and muscles. These techniques can also decrease the amount of anxiety that comes with difficulty breathing.

Improving dynamic balance and postural control. Regaining your sense of balance is important to prevent falling. Your physical therapist will teach you fall-prevention strategies — including prescribed exercises to improve your ability to recover from a loss of balance.

Designing an at-home program. Your physical therapist will design a home-exercise program for your specific needs and will teach you how to do the exercises. Doing these exercises on your own at home will help you continue to build strength and develop a lifelong habit of physical activity and health.

   Deborah Haggard, PTA   

  1. If you are interested in physical therapy for general weakness, contact us for a free consultation.  To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:

Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Shelbyville: 931-684-0027
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022

Disclaimer:  The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care.  Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.

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