Understanding and avoiding common PT diagnoses
Dec 20, 2011, 6 a.m.
While there may be some days when you feel as old as Hippocrates, the first practitioner of physical therapy (PT), as everyone ages the need for physical treatment often increases. Should you have more exciting things to occupy your time, avoiding PT may be at the top of your "to do" health list.
Chronic headaches is one of the most common diagnoses that respond to physical treatment and pain management techniques. Patients suffering from migraines, stress-induced headaches or neurological issues can respond to effective PT, although it can be difficult avoiding treatment altogether.
Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain) is another common diagnosis for walkers and joggers. Avoid needing PT by not running barefoot (over spikes and hot coals and, even, flat ground) and by using the best walking/running shoes you can afford.
Former workout warriors may notice a painful "shifting" of their former finely-tuned muscles as they enter their 50s and 60s. You can often benefit from aquatic therapy -- swimming or water aerobics -- to avoid less pleasant physical treatment. Swimming and water aerobics will tone muscles, while keeping you flexible and pain-free.
While the condition hip dysplasia may affect your Golden Retriever, not you, pain in your shoulders, elbows, knees, and hips are common diagnoses for physical treatment after 55. While this can be a sign of disease or osteopathic damage, you should remember that these joints have some "mileage" on them. You might avoid PT by using aquatic therapy or consistent exercise, even just casual walking.
Osteoporosis is another frequent PT diagnosis, particularly in women who are "mature." Weakened bones can respond to estrogen replacement (women only, please), reasonable weight-bearing activities, such as walking or jogging (not sprinting or marathons, thank you), or moderate resistance training, such as yoga.
Weight management and staying in shape help avoid PT. Be sure to use age-appropriate exercise to avoid doing more damage than good. Trying to do what you did at 25 might bring disaster at 55. Reasonable exercise, aquatic therapy or simple regular walking should deliver the wonderful results you crave.
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