As you age, you are more likely to develop certain health conditions, such as arthritis or the aftermath of a stroke, which can impact your mobility and muscle strength. Aches and pains become more common, and this can leave you feeling a bit defeated when it comes to carrying out daily tasks and getting some light exercise. The loss of independence and autonomy is a common concern of those who are categorised as elderly, and a visit to the GP won't always help when your symptoms are due to the normal aging process.
However, you may benefit from seeing a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists treat conditions related to the musculoskeletal system and use a variety of techniques to restore and support physical wellbeing. As healthcare professionals, they are used to treating patients of all ages, including older adults, and they are aware of the unique challenges faced by older adults. Here are three ways physiotherapy can benefit older people.
Improving balance and strength are common goals of older adults who want to feel safe when moving around their home and when out and about in the community. Physiotherapists can assess your gait and help you make adjustments to your posture to improve your balance. They can also show you how to do a range of strengthening exercises that are targeted to the specific muscle groups you'd like to focus on. These exercises need to be carried out regularly, but they can help improve muscle tone and functionality, which can make it easier to carry out a range of everyday tasks.
If you're experiencing pain due to a pre-existing health condition, such as osteoporosis or rheumatoid arthritis, there are a few ways that physiotherapy may help. Your physiotherapist can show you how to use a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine. This machine uses electrical currents, which are transported along thin wires to pads that are placed on the area of your body experiencing pain. The electrical currents temporarily block pain signals from travelling from the nerve endings at the site of the pain to your brain. This can be useful when you want drug-free pain relief for short periods in order to carry out essential tasks, such as grocery shopping. Physiotherapists can also measure you for custom-made supportive aids, such as splints and orthotics, which can take pressure off painful joints and ease inflammation.
A physiotherapist can also help you access suitable mobility aids, such as a walking frame or stick, and ensure you are using the correct size. They can also show you how to use them correctly, which can prevent muscle fatigue. If you've never used a mobility aid to help you get up from a chair or tackle a set of stairs, some guidance from a physiotherapist can help you feel more confident and ensure you're using a safe technique.
If you'd like more information on how physiotherapy can benefit you or an older relative, contact your local physiotherapy clinic.Share