When Should You Start Physical Therapy After an Injury?

Are you or a loved one currently out of commission from an injury? Recovery is an exciting and hopeful road made easier with the help of physical therapy.

Most soft tissue injuries heal in six to eight weeks. However, you might experience stiffness, pain, weakness, or inflammation during this time. More severe injuries will require extensive care and rehabilitation.

Physical therapy is vital in helping your body heal and get back to working order. But when is the best time to start? Are you looking to start physical therapy soon?

This guide covers everything you need to know and can expect from physical therapy. Read on to find out more.

Physical Therapy: Optional or Necessary?

Soft tissue healing takes roughly about 6 to 8 weeks. During this time, physical therapy is crucial in helping you regain the most function and performance.

Complete rehabilitation isn’t only when the pain goes away. Physical therapy includes restoring range of motion and regaining muscle strength. After injuries, patients may need to practice coordination and balance.

Massive trauma, like spinal injuries, often includes therapy for relearning how to walk.

Finally, physical therapy includes general conditioning exercises.

Even though some injuries may leave lasting effects, the goal of physical therapy is to bring back as much normalcy as possible. There’s always the temptation to minimize your injuries or tough it out.

There’s no shame in seeking treatment, and you deserve the best quality of life. Read heartwarming stories here about how physical therapy helped people.

Does Physical Therapy Hurt?

Physical therapy isn’t supposed to feel painful. However, expect some discomfort and soreness while your body restores itself. You should feel a “good pain” similar to the soreness after a satisfying gym workout.

The timeline for healing varies across injuries. More severe injuries take up more time for pain recovery and more time for physical therapy. Follow your physical therapy regimen as soon as your physician gives you the signal.

Here are the top reasons you should start therapy as soon as possible.

Optimize Healing Results

Starting physical therapy as soon as possible is your closest bet to regaining the full function of your injured body part.

Unfortunately, the longer you wait, the higher chance your body won’t heal right. Human bodies are resilient by nature. It wants to protect you from injury, but it can sometimes work too well.

Think of how scar tissue develops. Your body goes into overdrive to prevent the bleeding. It then reaches a point where it overproduces skin tissue and fibers. Your skin forms a barrier, and it stops the bleeding; mission accomplished. However, your skin doesn’t look the way it did before, while your muscles and tendons work the same way.

Your body sends repairing agents, blood, and healing signals towards your injury. You’ll see and feel this as swelling and inflammation. Swelling and inflammation go away with treatment. However, if you leave it there, you risk it turning into chronic inflammation.

Chronic inflammation can limit your movement, increase pain, or flare up in the future. It may interfere with muscle healing, impinge nerves or blood vessels, and cause permanent damage.

Avoid Secondary Injuries

Delaying physical therapy doesn’t hinder your body from taking charge of the injury. If you wait long enough or tough it out, your body will still heal, albeit less effectively.

Without physical therapy, your bones and muscles might heal with incorrect placement. One aspect of physical therapy is repositioning. It helps you ensure every component is where it needs to be.

Even people with prosthetic limbs need periodic readjustment for their prostheses. This is because the effects of pressure and movement build up.

If your muscles and joints don’t go back to their proper position, it may exert force on other structures that aren’t used to bearing force. This increases the risk of developing secondary pain symptoms. You may even risk future injury.

Don’t let one injury lead to another. Let the injury heal fully in the normal position with physical therapy.

Reduce Recovery Time

When you start physical therapy early, it not only gives you the best results, it also gives you the best results in the smallest amount of time possible.

It’s the best way to get your form and function back as early as possible since it’s easier to repair damage when it hasn’t healed yet. Rehabilitation is faster when you start with the base level of damage.

Early intervention prevents your body from picking up “bad habits.” You reduce recovery time without these bad habits because you have less to unlearn and correct.

Minimize Treatment Costs

Treatment for your current injury might already burn a hole through your pocket. Imagine a secondary injury adding to the bills. Now imagine a chronic issue developing and having to pay medical bills for it in the future.

Physical therapy might seem like an unnecessary luxury. However, skimping out on your health now means paying for it in the future. Not only do you pay in the form of bills, but you also compromise your quality of life.

It all ties together in giving yourself the best results in the least amount of time. Fixing the issue now will help you minimize future expenses.

Start Physical Therapy Today

The degree and type of injury determine when you start physical therapy. However, regardless of injury, the earlier you start, the better chance you give yourself to return to your everyday life. If you don’t know when to start physical therapy, the answer is as soon as possible.

Thank you for reading our article. Debilitating injuries genuinely put into perspective the functions of our body that we take for granted. Contact us today for physical therapy services to get your life back!