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A Guide to the Benefits of Physical Therapy for Seniors

physical therapy for older adults

Are you or a senior you love wondering if physical therapy can benefit their quality of life?

Senior citizens are at risk for developing mobility issues that can make it difficult to get around and do the things they love.

We have good news…

Physical therapy can help seniors maintain their independence by improving muscle strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility.

In this guide, you will learn about the benefits of physical therapy for seniors, as well as ways to maintain quality of life as a senior.

Table of Contents

physical therapy for seniors

Are There Benefits of Physical Therapy For Seniors?

Yes, there are endless benefits of physical therapy for seniors.

A lot of older adults tend to become less active with age, and mobility issues are not just the result of injuries.

Jill, age 72, is a senior who struggles to do the physical things she enjoys — playing with grandkids, going for walks, and gardening.

She’s also having trouble taking care of herself because she can’t get to the bathroom or get out of her wheelchair on her own.

As difficult as it is for Jill, this does not mean that she should stop taking their health seriously.

Jill’s daughter has encouraged her to see a physical therapist and shares how physical therapy can benefit her so that she can continue to share precious memories with her children and grandchildren.

To learn more about how we can help you or your loved ones benefit from physical therapy, click below to schedule your free consultation online with us at In Motion O.C.

5 Benefits of Physical Therapy For Seniors

Older patients face different physical challenges than younger patients, and therefore, require a different form of treatment.

Here is a list of five benefits of physical therapy for elderly people:

#1: Promotes Independence

For seniors, physical therapy can help them move around more easily and with confidence. It’s a great way to improve their quality of life and independence.

Physical therapy for older adults enhances their ability to perform everyday tasks such as:

  • Preparing meals
  • Doing laundry
  • Cleaning the house
  • Mowing the lawn

Physical therapy is a critical component in helping seniors maintain their independence.

#2: Prevent Falls and Injuries

Falls are more likely to happen as we get older. It’s important to keep up with our health and do what is necessary to reduce your risk of falls.

Physical therapy is important for seniors because it helps to prevent injuries and falls.

Physical therapists teach senior patients how to remain active without putting themselves at risk of injury.

Through physical therapy, older adults can rehabilitate their bodies after an injury or illness. This allows for seniors to maintain their independence with the help of a therapist who adapts exercises based on each patient’s abilities.

#3: Manage Pain

Seniors who are suffering from the pain associated with arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic headaches, nerve pain, and other muscular conditions can find relief through physical therapy.

Seniors may look to traditional medications as a way of managing their pain, but many drugs have side effects that range from upsetting stomachs and increased risk for health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

According to a medically reviewed article at Very Well Health, physical therapy is often able to help those who suffer from chronic pain more effectively than medication alone.

#4: Speed Up Recovery From Injuries or Illness

With age, comes the possibility of injury or illness.

While this can make day-to-day life difficult for a senior citizen, physical therapy offers benefits beyond easing pain and discomfort by:

  • Speeding up recovery time
  • Reducing swelling and inflammation
  • Helping their body heal faster

Physical therapists can provide recommendations to patients on how to improve their mobility and reduce pain caused by various illnesses or injuries.

They also help patients develop an exercise regimen that will support joints, strengthen muscles affected by aging, and even help to boost their immune system.

#5: Control The Symptoms of Certain Health Conditions

Elderly people are increasingly turning to physical therapy to help control the symptoms of certain health conditions from vertigo, carpal tunnel, chronic fatigue syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction – just to name a few.

According to studies conducted by SAGE Journals and others, this type of treatment can help seniors with their conditions and symptoms in several ways by:

  • Helping people with Parkinson’s disease control tremors
  • Aiding people with Multiple Sclerosis to maintain their balance and stability
  • Reducing the pain of fibromyalgia by strengthening muscles, improving range of motion, and reducing inflammation
  • Training people who have had a stroke may be able to regain mobility through physical therapy
  • Providing recovery from hip or knee replacement surgery are often prescribed physical therapy as part of their rehabilitation

In addition to helping older adults regain control over their muscles, these treatments also help minimize pain by removing trigger points or knots within muscle tissues that cause aches whenever they contract or relax.

benefits of physical therapy for seniors

What Types of Physical Therapy for Seniors Provide the Most Benefits?

There are many different types of physical therapy exercises and techniques that seniors may benefit from.

It is important to encourage seniors to start slowly, take cues from their bodies, and be patient as they go through their recovery, strengthening, and maintenance process.

However, the most important thing a person should do during treatment is to be proactive when it comes to their own care.

Continue reading to learn more about the different types of therapy and how each one has a specific goal to help with recovery from an injury or other medical condition.

#1: Manual Therapy

Manual therapy for seniors is a therapeutic process that involves therapists using their hands to relieve the pain and improve mobility with the following techniques:

  • Stretching
  • Joint mobilization
  • Soft tissue massages 

Sometimes, physical therapists can take a six-month process and turn it into a three-month process, or a one-year process of turning into a six-month process just by including some of the skills that accompany manual therapy techniques.

#2: Strength Training Exercises

For seniors to continue doing the things they love, they can benefit from maintaining their strength and muscle mass.
What types of strength training exercises might seniors do during physical therapy?

Some examples that are common in this setting include:

  • Flexion and extension movements for the knees and hips
  • Straight-leg lifts with weights from a sitting position
  • Standing heel raises

#3: Flexibility Exercises

Flexibility is important for people of all ages, and it’s especially important for seniors.

As people age, flexibility becomes more and more limited. This can lead to discomfort from increased strain on joints when doing everyday tasks like bending down to tie your shoes or reaching up to get a dish from a shelf.

A physical therapist might use a variety of exercises to improve a senior’s range of motion and reduce the chances of a future injury.

What types of exercises might seniors do during physical therapy to increase flexibility?

Some popular examples are:

  • toe touches
  • hamstring stretches
  • quadriceps stretches

These types of simple movements can affect function later on when they become more difficult or painful to perform alone.

#4: Balance Exercises

One physical aspect that many people overlook is improving their balance or stability.

It is important to maintain a good balance in order to avoid falls because there is the risk of serious injury or even complete loss of mobility.

Just the fear of falling can cause some people to stop trying to get around independently.

To improve balance, physical therapists could assist patients in performing exercises like:

  • Side leg raises
  • Standing on one leg
  • Hopping around the room on one leg

These are exercises that just about anyone can do or work their way towards improving no matter what shape they’re in.

physical therapy for older adults

In Motion O.C. Helps Seniors Improve and Maintain Their Quality of Life Through Physical Therapy

In Motion O.C. is Orange County’s premier physical therapy company. We help seniors maintain and regain their health and independence.

Our therapists have helped hundreds of seniors overcome their health conditions with our proven techniques.

Our goal is to help seniors stay active so that they can continue enjoying activities that make life worth living – whether it’s walking around the block or playing golf, we want to see seniors happy and healthy.

In Motion O.C. Offers Professional One-on-One Physical Therapy Services

Our experienced physical therapists work one-to-one with our patients in ways that are tailored specifically for seniors so we can meet all of their needs while ensuring seniors remain safe during treatment sessions.

Don’t let mobility issues limit you or your loved one’s ability to enjoy life.

Schedule your free consultation with us at In Motion O.C. today by clicking below.

In Motion O.C.