The therapists at Symmetry often hear the question “Do you think that I am a candidate for physical therapy?” One short answer to this query would be that anyone who finds that they are unable to move well is a good physical therapy candidate.
Human movement may suffer due to a variety of factors: pain, stiffness, instability, weakness, balance deficits, or poor coordination, to name a few examples. Often, when one of these factors is present, others may also be lurking below the threshold of a person’s awareness. Whether or not dysfunctional movement is causing an immediate, obvious limitation, it can be assumed that trouble is brewing. It is not at all uncommon that Symmetry’s patients come in unaware of any particular event that caused a problem. They have simply accumulated musculoskeletal stress over time, until at some point their body gets to a point where a threshold is reached and a clear symptom emerges.
A couple of months ago, we discussed the concept of Exercise as a Vital Sign on our blog. We are of the opinion that a critical component of good general health is getting sufficient exercise – both via aerobic activity and strength training. Taking this idea one step further, it is critical that the human body be able to move well to enable us to exercise. If we cannot reach, bend, press, pull, and curl up, then we certainly cannot expect that our bodies will withstand the day to day stresses of work, house chores, and leisure pursuits without at some point causing us grief.
If you follow Symmetry PT on Facebook, you have likely noticed that we’ve been posting periodic video clips demonstrating different “movement skills”. These videos were created to provide examples of aspects of movement that are integral to normal human function. If you are wondering whether or not you might be a candidate for physical therapy, comparing your movements to those demonstrated in these videos would be a good place to start. Can you fully move your neck? Are you able to reach behind your back? Can you squat and return to upright without using your hands? How about going up and down steps without pain or instability? If you find that you cannot comfortably accomplish these movement skills, you are likely to have one or several musculoskeletal issues that would be appropriate for further physical therapy evaluation.
Keep watching our posts for further information on quick and easy screening techniques to help you to determine if you would benefit from a physical therapy “tune-up”. Or better yet – come in and introduce yourself to Symmetry’s staff. We’d be happy to help you to get started on a path towards better movement.