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7 Surprising Conditions a Physical Therapist can Treat

When most people think Physical Therapy, orthopedic and sports injuries tend to be some of the first ideas to come to mind. Although these issues are ones that are certainly common, below is a list of 7 conditions you may not have known a physical therapist could treat. 

Top 7 Treatable Conditions

  1. Jaw Pain: Jaw pain or TMJ is described as pain coming from the temporal mandibular joint. This pain can manifest itself as a clicking and/or locking of the jaw, headaches, and ear pain. TMJ pain can limit someones ability to eat, talk, sleep and even yawn. Physical Therapy is one way to help reduce and manage TMJ related symptoms through use of hands on therapy techniques including joint stretching, soft tissue mobilization, and using instruments to increase flexibility of the muscles. Additionally, physical therapy provides tools needed to manage symptoms independently such as exercise and education on diet and sleep modifications. 
  2. Headaches: According to the World Health Organization it is estimated that approximately 1/2 – 3/4 of adults aged 18-65 have had at least 1 headache in the past year with 30% reporting a migraine type headache. In addition to head pain, headaches and migraines are commonly accompanied with neck pain. Physical therapy is one alternative to treating chronic head and neck pain symptoms. Through various hands on and educational techniques including soft tissue mobilization, joint and muscle stretching of the neck, and postural exercise physical therapy helps people reduce the frequency and intensity of their headache symptoms quickly without medications. 
  3. Dizziness and Vertigo: Have you ever experienced room-spinning dizziness when you turn over in bed or bend forward? Room spinning dizziness, or vertigo as it is commonly called, can be resolved with physical therapy.  The feeling of vertigo with various head movements, especially with turning in bed, is often the result of displaced crystals in your inner ear canal know as BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). These tiny crystals get stuck in the canals of your ear causing symptoms including: vertigo, nausea, light headedness, or even loss of balance. Treatment for this type of dizziness is done through a series of head movements to move the crystals out of the canal into their usual position to stop the feeling of vertigo. 
Picture of brain
  1. Concussion: Often times, when someone is diagnosed with a concussion there is no visible signs of distress. However, concussions can have a major impact on someone’s quality of life, affecting their ability to participate in work, school, or even recreational activities. Common symptoms of concussion include light and sound sensitivity, nausea, headaches, blurred or double vision, difficulty concentrating/focusing, mental confusion, disturbed sleep, irritability/mood changes, and loss of balance. While typical recovery for a concussion may only be a few days or weeks,  sometimes symptoms may last longer than normal. Treatment for concussion consists of a multidisciplinary team which includes Physical Therapy. Symptoms from a concussion are treatable through therapy, which consists of eye exercises, balance training, cognitive tasks, and cardiovascular exercise, depending on a patients individual needs. 
  2. Pelvic Health: Pelvic pain and incontinence are personal and intimate topics that severely impact one’s health and well being. Physical therapy is an effective way to help manage and improve pelvic health symptoms. Through both internal and external treatment strategies including improving pelvic floor and core stability, physical therapy helps reduce and manage symptoms. Some common pelvic floor conditions seen in physical therapy include loss of urine, urgency to urinate, pain with intercourse, prolapse, and post-partum recovery.
  3. Parkinson’s Disease: Parkinson’s disease is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder. There is an estimate 7 to 10 million people with Parkinson’s disease world wide. Parkinson’s disease (PD) primarily affects dopamine-producing neurons in the area of the brain called the substantia nigra which plays a major role in movement. Symptoms and the progression of PD vary from person to person and typically include, but are not limited to: tremors, bradykinesia (slowness of movement), hypokinesia (reduced amplitude of movement), limb rigidity, and gait and balance problems. The cause of PD is largely unknown, and there is currently no known cure for PD. However, many times, people with PD can manage and slow the progression of PD through use of medication, surgery via deep brain stimulator, and exercises including physical therapy. Physical therapy for neurological conditions is a great tool to manage and improve symptoms of PD. Through use of exercise with a focus on increasing amplitude and a drive for high-effort practice, people with PD have been shown to improve their walking speed and safety with bigger steps, balance, and increased trunk rotation to allow them to be more functional and independent at home.  
Parkinson's Disease Symptoms
  1. Multiple Sclerosis: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the communication between the brain and the body. MS works by damaging the nerve coverings that transport information throughout the body. Typically MS is diagnosed through lab and imaging tests and results in symptoms including: vision loss, pain, fatigue, weakness, and impaired coordination. Just like in PD, symptoms can vary from person to person with an unknown cause and no known cure. Women are 2-3 times more affected than men with majority of diagnosis occurring between the ages of 20 and 50. Treatment for MS includes medication management, exercise, and physical therapy. There is currently no intervention that has proven to effectively modify long-term disease prognosis (with the exception of stem cell transplant), however, exercise therapy is considered to be one of the most important parts in the symptomatic and supportive treatment for people with MS.  Physical therapy interventions for MS aim to increase daily function and independence with MS, including transfers, bed mobility, walking and balancing. 

If have any of the above conditions, remember to talk to your physician or trusted physical therapist for further information and treatment.  Physical therapy is a great resource in managing multiple conditions throughout the body. For more information on how Action Potential can help you, request an appointment today


Brain image: https://carilionclinicliving.com/sites/default/files/field/image/concussion.jpg

PD image: https://d2icp22po6iej.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/symptoms2.jpg