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Explaining Types of Physical Therapy for Seniors

types of physical therapy

There are many types of physical therapy that can be beneficial for seniors. Each one is designed to help improve a specific function or mobility issue, and they are often used in helping a person recover after an injury or procedure.

As adults age, the physical after-effects of an injury, surgery, or other procedure may be more severe and require physical therapy as part of their rehab or recovery plan. The overall goal is to help a person restore their mobility and re-establish proper movement.

Common Reasons Why Seniors May Need Physical Therapy

Improve Balance and Prevent Falls

Physical therapy can help prevent falls by improving strength, coordination, and balance. This is an important issue for seniors, as falls are a leading cause of injury and death in this age group.

Improve Joint Range of Motion and Mobility

Physical therapy can also help improve joint range of motion and mobility. This may be necessary for seniors who have difficulty with activities such as bending down to tie their shoes or reaching up to get something from a cabinet.

Dexterity and mobility may also be impacted after medical episodes like strokes. A physical therapist can help seniors learn to move their hands, arms, and legs again to recover their mobility.

Reduce Physical Pain

Acute or chronic pain can become a debilitating issue that many seniors live with. Working with a physical therapist, a person can learn to correct their motor functions and build physical strength, which may help reduce pain.

Physical therapy may also help reduce physical pain. This can be due to an injury, surgery, or other health condition. Physical therapists are experts at helping people manage pain and improve their quality of life.

Regain Strength After an Injury or Procedure

After an injury or procedure, many seniors lose strength and mobility. Physical therapy can help regain these functions, as well as restore proper function and use of extremities.

Types of Physical Therapy for Seniors

Hydrotherapy 

A form of physical therapy, hydrotherapy uses water as the primary medium. It is often used to improve range of motion, circulation, and muscle strength in an aquatic environment.

Heat Therapy

Heat can be used to help relax and loosen muscles as well as improve blood circulation.  It is often used alongside other types of physical therapy as preparation for physical exercise.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy uses cold temperatures to help reduce inflammation and swelling. It is often used for acute injuries or post-surgery rehabilitation. It can also be used to help seniors manage pain.

Manual Therapy

Manual therapy is a type of hands-on physical therapy that uses techniques like massaging muscles and tissue as well as guided movements. The overall goal of manual therapy is to help a person reduce pain and improve physical function.

Functional Training

Functional training uses exercises that are meant to mimic everyday activities. This type of physical therapy can be helpful in restoring mobility and function after an injury or surgery.

Strength Training

Strength training uses exercises that target and build muscle mass. This type of physical therapy can help improve strength, mobility, and function.

Cardiopulmonary Therapy

Cardiopulmonary therapy is a type of physical therapy that helps improve the function of the heart and lungs. It is often used for seniors who have difficulty with activities like walking or climbing stairs and can be used after recovering from a cardiac episode or operation.

Neurological Therapy 

Neurological therapy is a type of physical therapy that helps improve the function of the nervous system. It can be used to help manage conditions like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy.

Hand Therapy

Hand therapy is a type of manual therapy that is specific to the hands and arms. It can help improve range of motion, grip strength, and dexterity. This type of treatment is often provided by a dedicated hand therapist with specific training related to this discipline.

Get Senior Physical Therapy in the New York Capital Region 

At Shaker Place Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, our team of physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, and respiratory therapists provide treatment to seniors to help them regain their independence and autonomy. If you are seeking physical therapy for yourself or a senior-aged loved one as part of short-term or long-term rehabilitation, please contact us today to learn more about our community.