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Physical Therapy Boost: March 14, 2011

Shoulder pulls, knee injuries, balancing issues, even pregnancy strain: physical therapists are poised and ready to tackle your problem points. "As a PT, we feel we can do the best good right away," says Lee Memorial Health System physical therapist, Patrick Davin.

He and the team work with patients one-on-one to eliminate pain while boosting a person's strength and stamina. "It comes back to the individual. What we sometimes look at is if someone comes to us with a degenerative knee, we're going to look above and below that joint to see if there's a deficit that we can work on," explains Davin. "We may not be able to do much for the knee in terms of taking away the arthritis, however, if we can take some of the stress off the knee by recommending footwear, braces, strengthening the hip or the leg itself than its worthwhile."

Therapists also provide at-home exercises for patients to follow. Davin adds that this is a crucial step in overcoming pain. "Its huge! In terms of reigning in range of motion and even when it comes to strengthening, its so important to do those exercises at home."

Often times, physicians will prescribe physical therapy before surgery for problem joints. "To me, the more conservative approach initially is worth a shot versus the more aggressive joint replacement."

In fact, physical therapists are playing a large role in healthcare these days. Because of advancing medical technology, survival rates are at an all time high and that's prompting the need for more rehabilitative care.