How Soon After an Injury Should You Start Physical Therapy?
Are you out for the count after a recent injury? While you may think physical therapy is unnecessary (at least at this point), you may want to consider starting it sooner than later – even if your first instinct is to “tough it out” and see if the injury gets better or don’t want take the time into schedule appointments and attend therapy sessions. Whatever the reason, it is critical to begin physical therapy immediately after an injury has occurred. Here’s why…
You can develop a chronic issue. After an injury occurs, the body immediately tries to protect itself by increasing blood flow to the injured tissue, initiating the healing process. This process typically results in swelling and pain, but with immediate and proper treatment, resolves quickly. If left untreated, the inflammation will continue and eventually become a chronic issue that limits motion and function and increases pain which can impact your everyday life.
Secondary injuries can occur. When physical therapy is delayed, it can cause injury of the surrounding muscles. For instance, if your knee is injured and stability is comprismised, the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calf muscles have to work harder to allow the body to function as “normal” (a.k.a. a compensation mechanism). Because these muscles are not used to performing this way, they become weak and over-used, causing stress on the muscles and joints and eventually resulting in injury.
Recovery time is much longer. When an injury is immediately treated with physical therapy, most individuals can return to their previous level of activity within a short time period – depending on the type of injury, of course. However, if therapy is delayed, what could’ve been a quick fix turns into a longer recovery process due to the improper mechanics that have developed or secondary injuries that have occurred.
The cost of treatment rises. It is likely that you will incur an increased cost in medical treatments associated with fixing the injury. This is because additional doctor’s visits and treatments will be required to not only treat the original injury, but to correct any secondary issues that also occurred.
If you’ve been injured, don’t delay! Schedule a physical therapy session with Brielle Integrated Healthcare immediately.
When in doubt, always listen to your body. If you feel extreme pain or discomfort immediately after an injury or if R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) isn’t relieving your pain a week into the injury, schedule an appointment with a highly trained physical therapist immediately. At Brielle Integrated Healthcare, we offer a free consultation and complimentary benefits checks. Call us today at (732) 756-1082 for more information about our physical therapy services!