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6 Surprising Conditions that Benefit from Physical Therapy

6 Surprising Conditions that Benefit from Physical Therapy


What do you think of when you think about Physical Therapy (PT)? Most people have heard of Physical Therapy treating muscle strains, tendonitis, or back pain, and we all know that PT is a crucial part of post-operative rehabilitation, such as an ACL reconstruction or hip replacement. However, there are lots of other conditions that benefit from Physical Therapy treatment. Too often people think medication or injections are their only options. So let’s explore some surprising health conditions that benefit from PT treatment.


Nerve pain

Characterized by “zinging” pain that radiates down an extremity and is often accompanied by numbness or tingling. Nerve damage can have many different origins, however, it’s often caused by impingement i.e. a stiff joint or a group of tight muscles interfering with the nerve gliding properly. Sciatica is an (in)famous example of nerve pain (and a real pain in the butt).  Other examples include pinched nerves, radiculopathy, thoracic outlet syndrome, and dozens of others. As specialists in mobility, Physical Therapists are great at mobilizing joints and releasing muscles to reduce pressure on the nerve and alleviate symptoms. 

Headaches - 

About 20% of chronic recurring headaches are caused by problems in the neck. Specifically at the junction between the skull and the first 2 vertebrae of the spine. MDs have created many pharmacological treatments for these kinds of headaches including medications, anesthetic nerve block, and something called pulsed radiofrequency therapy. However, studies show that PT performed mobilizations and exercises are associated with decreased pain levels, decreased fear of movement, and patient reported decrease in headache-related disability. So, consider adding PT to your treatment plan! 

Jaw Pain -

Also known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD). TMJD is a condition that affects your jaw joint and muscles. Frequently, it is treated with dental procedures and mouth guards alone. However, Physical Therapists have a deep bench of tools for the treatment of muscles and joints, the jaw is no exception! Ongoing research indicates that manual therapy techniques can decrease pain and improve range of motion for mouth opening. 

Concussions - 

Physical Therapists are a key member of the healthcare team following a concussion. Concussions are a complex condition that requires a guided and gradual return to activity and sports. Symptoms such as headache, dizziness, neck pain, balance dysfunction, and fatigue can be addressed through progressive exercises, exertional training, patient education and specialized exercises for something called the vestibular system. 

Osteoporosis -

Osteoporosis is a decrease of bone density that makes someone susceptible to fractures. Fortunately, we know that regular exercise, such as strength training, decreases the rate of bone density loss. It is crucial that individuals with osteoporosis have an exercise routine, but many aren’t sure where to start or which exercises are safe to perform. This is where Physical Therapy can help! PTs have the expertise to evaluate your specific strengths and weaknesses to provide a safe and tailored program that fits your needs. 

Falls/Balance Deficits

Unfortunately, falls and fall-related injuries are common for individuals 60 years or older. Balance is a complex interplay of factors and therefore needs an equally complex treatment strategy. Exercises include range of motion stretching, strength and power training, along with static and dynamic balance challenges. These exercises must match the individual’s skill level and need. There is no one size fits all program, but Physical Therapists can help!


The Big Takeaway

Physical Therapists treat a wide variety of conditions, including many that might surprise you. If you aren’t sure whether or not PT can help, you can ask your doctor or, better yet, call your local PT clinic and talk to one of the therapists. 

If you live in the Washington, DC area and you’re struggling with an injury or other physical issues, the experienced team at Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation are here to help you on your road to recovery.


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Verma S, Tripathi M, Chandra PS. Cervicogenic Headache: Current Perspectives. Neurol India. 2021 Mar-Apr;69(Supplement):S194-S198. doi: 10.4103/0028-3886.315992. PMID: 34003165.
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Hartley GW, Roach KE, Nithman RW, Betz SR, Lindsey C, Fuchs RK, Avin KG. Physical Therapist Management of Patients With Suspected or Confirmed Osteoporosis: A Clinical Practice Guideline From the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2022 Apr-Jun 01;44(2):E106-E119. doi: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000346. PMID: 35384943; PMCID: PMC8983944.
Montero-Odasso MM, Kamkar N, Pieruccini-Faria F, Osman A, Sarquis-Adamson Y, Close J, Hogan DB, Hunter SW, Kenny RA, Lipsitz LA, Lord SR, Madden KM, Petrovic M, Ryg J, Speechley M, Sultana M, Tan MP, van der Velde N, Verghese J, Masud T; Task Force on Global Guidelines for Falls in Older Adults. Evaluation of Clinical Practice Guidelines on Fall Prevention and Management for Older Adults: A Systematic Review. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Dec 1;4(12):e2138911. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.38911. PMID: 34910151; PMCID: PMC8674747.
Kyra Corradin, PT, DPT Kyra is a doctor of physical therapy, certified yoga instructor, and performing/visual artist at various DC theatres. Kyra channels much of the methodology from her arts background into her PT practice, giving her a unique treatment style with a holistic approach. Kyra believes healing is a collaborative process between clinician and client in which clinical expertise promotes body awareness and creates an opportunity for the body’s natural healing processes

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