Did you know that a worker is injured on the job every seven seconds? An injury can happen anytime, anywhere, but getting hurt at work is all too common.
If you’re among this statistic, along with the physical pain you feel due to your injury, you’re likely in a fair amount of mental distress at the thought of being unable to work for the foreseeable future.
While it’s perfectly okay to feel stressed, there are things you can do to speed up your recovery time and get back to work faster! Along with making sure your nutrition and hydration are in check, physical therapy sessions can do wonders for your body.
We’ve broken down exactly how and why physical therapy is a great choice if you’ve been injured on the job. Keep reading to learn more!
What is Physical Therapy?
First, let’s break down what physical therapy actually is. A physical therapist is defined by the American Physical Therapy Association as a licensed medical professional who uses their training to diagnose abnormalities, restore function and mobility, and maintain that proper function.
Physical therapists can be found in a wide variety of healthcare facilities, from sports and fitness centers to schools to hospitals. If you’ve been injured on the job, a quick Google search on the best workers comp doctor near me can help you find a suitable therapist fast.
Common Physical Therapy Practices
In addition to strength exercises, aerobic training, and stretches to relieve pain and encourage healing, your physical therapist may include some supplementary treatments in your sessions. A few of the most commonly used physical therapy methods include:
In order to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as improve circulation, your physical therapist may use electric stimulation therapy. This involves sending an electric current into the affected area, typically via a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit.
Ice and Heat Therapy
This may be done by your physical therapist, or they may recommend that you do this on your own at home. Ice and heat therapy is exactly what it seems – using ice and heat packs to reduce inflammation and pain.
Rather than using a machine, a physical therapist can also employ direct manipulation. They will use their hands to manipulate your muscles and other soft tissue to aid tension and dysfunction.
Ultrasound therapy is a bit like electric stimulation, except instead of an electrical current, your body will receive sound waves. You won’t be able to hear it, as the pitch is above the range of human hearing, but it will stimulate the affected area, reducing pain.
One of the most popular treatments during physical therapy is massage therapy. Not only are massages relaxing, but they also promote healing by boosting mitochondria levels while diminishing pain and inflammation.
The Benefits of Physical Therapy After an Injury at Work
Along with the broad advantages you will receive, such as a reduction in your risk of developing arthritis and suffering further injuries in the future, physical therapy offers several benefits specific to those with work injuries.
Speed Up Injury Recovery Time
Physical therapy involves carefully chosen stretching and exercise designed to strengthen the affected area of your injury and speed up the healing process. Rest is an essential piece of the puzzle as well, but you simply won’t be able to return to your normal activities as quickly without therapy.
Not to mention you’re at a much higher risk of long-term damage and negative effects of injury if you rely solely on passive treatments.
Improve Work Ergonomics
A physical therapist will take your lifestyle, your job, and the tasks it involves to create a plan designed just for you. They can show you any mistakes you’re making with posture or movement to prevent injuries in the future.
Reach Maximum Functional Capacity
It’s an unfortunate truth, but certain injuries will prevent you from ever getting back to the fitness level you were pre-injury. That being said, the days and weeks post-injury are a critical time when it comes to recovery.
With the help of a physical therapist, you will be able to reach maximum functional capacity, meaning your tissues and joints will recover much more fully than they would without therapy.
Learn Job-Specific Skills to Avoid Re Injury
If your job involves a specific repeated action throughout the day, your physical therapist can give you exercises to strengthen the parts of your body needed to complete it.
They will also be able to give you a routine to perform at home once your therapy sessions have ended so that you won’t lose any progress you make throughout the process.
Use Physical Therapy Sessions to Heal Faster
As you can see, making use of physical therapy sessions will help you to heal and, therefore, get back to work faster. But beyond that, you’ll have a lower risk of injuring yourself with the skills you’ll learn in your sessions, preventing this from happening again in the future.
If there is a specific modality that you’re interested in trying, don’t be afraid to bring it up with your physical therapist! They will be able to recommend which options are best for your particular situation and injury.
The most important thing to remember when entering into physical therapy is to be patient with yourself and your body. Your recovery time will vary depending on your injury, but a relaxed mind and body can take you further than you think when it comes to healing.
Looking for more tips on getting back to your normal routine after an injury? Check out our blog!