Blog Post: October 18th, 2021

By: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Steve Cassabaum

Almost everyone exercises with the intent of getting better. Most of the general public know the many positive benefits of exercise that include lowering blood pressure, increasing bone density, increasing muscle mass, improving flexibility and endurance, and improving cardiovascular function, to name just a few. As physical therapists, we help people return to exercise through the use of many different exercises!

Us Doctors of Physical Therapy, as the name implies, are the specialists of the physical body and how that body moves, as well as how best to improve movement to restore pain-free, normal function. It follows that we are also the exercise experts because we use exercises more than any other medical professional in treatment plans to restore the body’s function.

Specifically, and ideally, each exercise you receive from your Physical Therapist is designed with your specific issue in mind. Each exercise is designed to restore each person’s movement and function to an optimal level and restore that movement to allow pain-free function.

Your Physical Therapist chooses each exercise with the intent that that specific exercise is specific for you and in restoring your ability to move and function pain-free. Each exercise  parallels a specific activity or function that you need help with so that the specific function becomes easier and pain-free. The explanation for why you are doing each exercise should always correspond to a specific movement. By doing that exercise consistently it will allow your movement to become easier, pain-free, and allow you to return to normal movement once again.

Many of these exercises are very functional, meaning they simulate daily movements you perform routinely. For example, your physical therapist may have you perform repeated sit to stands with specific modifications to allow you to be able to perform your normal routine of getting out of your chair, off the toilet, or in and out of the car or bed. These are commonly called functional activities or functional exercises.

Another example would be performing a chin tuck exercise that strengthens some of the muscles of the neck as well as teaching you the correct, pain-free way to bend your neck when looking down at your computer, phone, or grandchild. After performing this exercise and learning to bend your neck correctly, each time you look down to see what your grandchild is doing or check your phone you are reminded to perform “bending your neck” the correct way and that activity becomes pain-free and easy once again!

Think of that exercise sheet, video or graphic that your physical therapist gives you as your Doctor’s Prescription, similar to a Medical Doctor/MD who hands you a script for pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medication. Personally, I prefer to learn how to move correctly to restore function that is painfree versus taking a pill that has possible negative side effects and does nothing to get at the root or cause of my pain or limitation.

So see your Doctor of Physical Therapy for any of those aches or pains you may be experiencing, receive the exercises and activities designed specifically for your problem, and learn how to move more easily and pain-free once again! You can request an appointment here!