The benefits of physio for seniors are well established. Yet many people still think that physiotherapy is only for athletes recovering from injury. In reality physiotherapy is just as focused on preventing injuries and increasing mobility as it is on recovery and restoration.
Older adults may suffer from a range of issues, including arthritis, back pain, joint pain, muscle stiffness, ligament damage, inflammation, and lack of mobility. There are hundreds of issues related to aging that can be prevented, treated, or managed by physiotherapy as part of a comprehensive wellness regime. Unfortunately, we don’t have time to explore them all here, so let’s look at the top eight benefits:
Treatment of pain
Neck, back, and joint pain are often the result of tight or weak muscles, limited blood flow, and inactivity. Physiotherapy can increase blood flow, flexibility, core strength, and mobility.
Exercise is important for people of all ages, but it can also pose a risk to older adults, especially those with heart disease, osteoporosis or other common health issues. Physio is the perfect way for seniors to exercise under the careful direction of wellness professionals – reducing the risk of exercise-related injuries.
Build strength and stability
Slips and falls are dangerous at any age, but particularly common and dangerous for seniors. Physiotherapy helps older adults build the strength and stability needed to live life on their terms, without the fear of falling or slipping.
Physiotherapy is also a social experience. Seniors will work one-on-one with a physiotherapist who is dedicated to helping them achieve their well-being and health goals.
Non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical treatment option
Physiotherapy is an excellent non-invasive, and non-pharmaceutical treatment option. Building strength and flexibility will help treat a range of issues, and also prevent injuries (and thus prevent the invasive treatments they may require). Surgical options become increasingly risky as people age, staying off the treatment table has to be a top priority for any senior.
Another factor to consider is that pain medication (even over-the-counter options) can sometimes interfere with other medications taken for chronic illnesses. Avoiding having to take additional medication is an important consideration of any health and wellness plan.
Pre and post-surgery
Sometimes surgery is unavoidable. Physiotherapy aids in recovery after surgery, and can build strength before surgery. Exercise of any kind protects and enhances cardio vascular capacity and circulation. Post-surgery physio will help patients recover their strength and mobility.
Mental health benefits
Exercise has well established mental health benefits. For seniors who may be dealing with physical pain, adjusting to retirement, or changes in their lifestyle, maintaining mental health is just as important as physical health. Exercise can alleviate anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins.
All of these benefits add up to one vital component of seniors’ lives: independence. Maintaining independence is key to seniors’ quality of life, dignity, and happiness. Effective physiotherapy will keep you out of a wheelchair, and even behind the wheel longer. That is the difference between living on your own, and requiring in-house care, or even having to live in a retirement home. Independence, mobility, and quality of life provide a huge mental health benefit, in addition to the direct mental health benefits that regular exercise provide.
Source: Meadowlands Physiotherapy