Many people seek physical therapy for rehabilitation after developing a chronic or acute physical injury, condition, or impairment, but physical therapy can also be used for preserving and improving health, mobility, and function. This physical therapy technique corrects muscle imbalances and movement pattern inefficiencies to help prevent injury and promote health, fitness, and wellness. It can also maximize athletic performance for both professional and recreational athletes by increasing strength, endurance, and flexibility, and improving balance and weight control.
Preventative therapy begins with a complete physical screening and examination conducted by a physical therapist. He or she assesses the patient’s body for risk of injury—revealing issues that could lead to strains, sprains, or joint pain if left unchecked—and has a conversation with the patient regarding his or her current level of activity. Then, the therapist devises a treatment plan and/or exercise routine to address any problems that could lead to injury.
A major component of preventative therapy for elderly patients is falls prevention, which involves a thorough review of the patient’s medical history, a physical examination, and a footwear and home safety assessment. Treatment often includes balance, strength, and aerobic training, along with fear management and prevention education. Preventative therapy can also be employed by businesses to help improve the health and happiness of their employees and reduce the risk of workplace injury.