One of the biggest mistakes athletes make is failing to see a physical therapist soon after an injury. Listening to your body and recognizing the signs that you may need a physical therapist can save you from months of recovery or even a compensatory injury. Consider the following signs that you may need physical therapy.
1. You still feel pain after two or three days.
Not every injury is a cause to make a trip to a Long Island orthopedic specialist. When you experience an injury, it’s best to take two or three days off from your typical exercise schedule. Rest the injury, apply ice and elevate it. If it still hurts after three days, it’s time to make an appointment to see a physical therapist.
2. Dull, recurring pain.
Chronic injuries can plague us for months or even years after the acute event. If you experience a dull,
throbbing pain that frequently recurs, you may have a chronic injury that needs tending. Your physical therapist can assess your movement and come up with a plan to decrease pain and restore mobility.
3. Difficulty controlling pain with medications.
Taking ibuprofen following an injury is a good first plan of attack. Over-the-counter pain medications like NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ) (e.g., Aleve, Advil, aspirin) can also reduce inflammation, which speeds the healing process. If you’re taking an over-the-counter pain medication as directed and still experiencing pain, it’s time to get professional help. Attempting to exercise through the pain may leave you vulnerable to another injury.
4. You’re experiencing a sharp, acute pain.
Sometimes, the nature of the pain is enough for our bodies to tell us that something is wrong. Minor injuries often present themselves as mild, throbbing pain that goes away after a day or two. If you feel a sudden sharp pain, you may have a stress fracture, pulled muscle or torn ligament. In this case, it’s important to visit a musculoskeletal doctor immediately.
5. You notice changes in your body’s appearance or performance.
You’re the best judge of your own body and abilities. A swollen knee or difficulty performing a routine exercise are signs of injury that may require a physical therapist’s skill.
There’s no reason to wait too long to visit a physical therapist. Contact us today to receive prompt, compassionate care that will get you back into your regular schedule in no time.