Physical Therapy with the Elderly

Physical Therapy with the Elderly

September 17, 2020

As our elderly age, some may experience a lot of pain and most of them are prone to injuries due to muscle loss and bone brittleness. As people age, they tend to lose flexibility, strength, and often their balance, so maintaining the desired level of fitness becomes increasingly challenging. Loss of these functions could lead to a fall that could cause serious injury. Physical therapy helps improve these functions.

Balance exercises for seniors are an essential part of an osteoporosis exercise program. They should include fall prevention exercises that reduce their risk of a fall. But even if your loved one has not achieved that senior status, balance exercises for seniors will keep them active and mobile as they age and become more confident.

Strength training and exercise provided in physical therapy can also help alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. People with arthritis can benefit from physical therapy because it provides exercises to help preserve the strength and use of the joints. Physical therapy also teaches therapeutic methods to relieve discomfort through both physical techniques and activity modifications.

Throughout the aging process, the risk of certain diseases and illnesses increase. Medical professionals are finding that physical therapy can be used to help seniors manage these various chronic illnesses and diseases, including arthritis, stroke, incontinence, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Some of the main benefits of physical therapy for seniors include:

Reducing Risk of Falls

Falls are the leading cause for injury in seniors and in most cases, can result in skin-tears, fractures, or other life-threatening injuries. PT’s use various extension exercises that emphasize flexibility, strength, and proper gait to reduce the risk of future falls.

Treating Pain Without Surgery or Drugs

Physical therapy has proven to be a cost-effective way to treat chronic pain without turning to elective surgeries or prescribed drugs.

Reducing Risk of Infection

Seniors who are not active run a higher risk of getting pneumonia or developing skin problems, such as ulcers, which come about because of lack of movement.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Everyone knows exercise is a key element to good health, but as we age it becomes essential to maintaining our day to day lifestyles. Seniors using physical therapy as exercise are more active, reducing the risk of problems related to obesity, which are accountable for 18% of adult deaths in the U.S.

Here are some Physical Therapy exercises that you might encounter along the way:

Abdominal contractions

To increase strength in the abdominal muscles

Wall pushups

To increase strength in the chest and shoulders

Pelvic tilts

To strengthen and stretch muscles in the lower back

Shoulder blade squeeze

To strengthen postural muscles and stretch the chest

Toe taps

To strengthen the lower legs

Heel raises

To strengthen the upper calves

Knee lifts

To strengthen the thighs

Shoulder and upper back stretch

To stretch the shoulders and back

Ankle rotations

To strengthen the calves

Neck stretch

To relieve tension in the neck and upper back

Upper back

To relieve tension in the shoulders and upper back

These exercises can be done at home without going out but remember- proper assessment and evaluation done by your physician and physical therapist is still needed to prevent future injuries.

Physical therapy for seniors has a variety of benefits which can include not only gaining strength and balance but also providing a renewed sense of confidence. Physical therapy with the elderly can give seniors back their independence and make daily tasks easier.

Tribeca Physical Therapy is officially reopened for in-person physical therapy sessions and continues to offer Telehealth PT or Virtual PT. Call us at 2124068080 or message us and book your first session free.

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