How Long After An Injury Should You Start Physical Therapy?

In most cases, physical therapy can be initiated right away after an injury. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to get started. Your physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment of any affected areas such as the joints, tendons, ligaments, bones and muscles of the limbs and spine. If your physiotherapist thinks that you should see a doctor, they will discuss this with you. This assessment will form the basis of your individualized treatment plan. Physiotherapy will typically initially focus on controlling any inflammation, managing pain and discomfort and working to restore movement of the affected areas. Education will also be provided on how to best manage the injury. As you move along in the healing process, the focus will shift more towards strengthening and working to restore function with daily activities. If your injury is the result of a workplace or sports injury, your physiotherapist can also assist with return to work or return to sport planning. A skilled physical therapist will always work to help you maximize healing after an injury and improve your overall health.

Maximize Your Recovery After Injury or Surgery With Early Physiotherapy Treatment

If you have had a surgery such as a hip or knee replacement, rotator cuff repair, ACL repair or surgical fracture fixation, you may need a little bit of healing time before you start your physical therapy program. In this case your surgeon will advise when you should start seeing a physiotherapist. For some surgical procedures, your surgeon may also provide you with some treatment protocols to follow. These should be brought in with you to your physiotherapy assessment. Early physiotherapy treatment after surgery is very important to maximize the healing process as well as prevent mobility issues, muscle atrophy and generalized deconditioning. Often, therapy is initiated before the surgery for 2 main reasons. Firstly, this can help to establish a baseline for range of movement, strength and function so that you and your therapist will have a better idea what to expect after surgery. Secondly, working to maximize movement, strength and function before surgery can help with the post-operative rehabilitation process.

Physical Therapy Treatment Of Fractures

Other injuries, such as fractures, may require some healing time before any focused therapies can be initiated. A doctor will advise on the right protocols to follow as they vary depending on the nature and severity of the fracture. However, physical therapy can often be started on the joints and tissues above and below the fracture site which can be helpful in the longer recovery process. Having an area of the body immobilized due to a fracture can often lead to improper mechanics and compensation. This can often trigger discomfort in other areas. Muscle tension, back pain and reduced movement or flexibility are common complaints in areas surrounding a fracture. There are no contra-indications to having treatment of these areas by a skilled physical therapist. Treatment can often help you get relief from pain, restore range of movement and prevent chronic issues from developing. Once your doctor has given the green light to start therapy at the fracture site, the focus of treatment can shift to this area.  

Benefits Of Early Exercise Guided By A Skilled Physical Therapist

Exercise is one of the main pillars of physiotherapy treatment and will typically be a part of any quality therapy routine. Exercise has a huge number of health benefits that can help you to heal after an injury such as:

-Increasing blood circulation to help promote healing in the affected tissues

-Helping to push swelling away from injured areas

-Helping to restore joint range of motion, flexibility and general mobility

-Increasing strength and preventing muscle atrophy

-Increasing balance and coordination

-Increasing function with daily activities

Some form of exercise can usually be started right away as part of a physiotherapy treatment plan regardless of whether your injury is acute or chronic. The type and intensity of the exercises recommended will very much depend on your individual condition. You will never be asked to perform strengthening exercises or stretches that are outside of your comfort zone. Being generally active will also usually be encouraged as this has been shown to speed up the recovery process and improve health overall.

If you have an injury don’t wait! Book with one of our skilled physical therapists today!