How Can Physical Therapists Help People with Autoimmune Disorders?Wendy Grieco
You may be familiar with the concept of working with patients who experience injuries, but what about those who live with ongoing health conditions and disorders? For patients with autoimmune diseases, physical therapy may feel like a godsend. Clients with these conditions often report a more comfortable lifestyle after going through therapy, and you can be a part of making a vital change.
Autoimmune conditions that affect your clients might include rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. These conditions often lead to issues like fatigue, swollen joints, inflammation, and muscle weakness. For your clients living with autoimmune diseases, you may need to focus on different aspects of treatment for the best results.
From taking PT continuing education courses to learning about diet, you have many ways to focus your efforts on becoming a successful physical therapist. This guide will help you find new ways to help your clients.
Consider the Role of Diet in Physical Therapy
As a physical therapist, you may take a more holistic approach to your physical therapy by considering external factors. Many factors affecting autoimmune disorders are linked to lifestyle choices, and making some changes could improve symptoms.
Some professionals suggest incorporating diet into the plan. For instance, some clients with autoimmune disease report that they feel much better after incorporating a paleo-style diet into their lives. This diet typically requires eliminating gluten, grains, and dairy. Potential benefits of educating your clients about good nutritional choices could mean fewer instances of fatigue, joint pain, and mood swings.
Understand Specific Physical Therapy Techniques
For clients with autoimmune disorders, physical therapy provides benefits when it involves specific techniques. For example, your clients may benefit from aquatic therapy to build strength or stationary biking for endurance. You might incorporate bodyweight exercises or light weights to see improvements in strength and flexibility.
One of the benefits of aquatic therapy, for instance, is that clients can exercise in an environment that minimizes stress on the joints. The temperature of the water also helps to warm the body, relieving stiffness. You may also see decompression of the joints and spine, leading to safer exercise.
Study Energy Conservation
One of the most common complaints among clients with autoimmune conditions is that they are often fatigued. To prevent your clients from feeling overwhelmed or sore because of physical therapy, you need to focus on methods for preserving energy. Muscle strengthening and aerobic activity can both assist your client in building stamina.
Emphasize Goal-Oriented Activities
As a physical therapist, you can help your clients by encouraging goal-oriented activities and exercises. Your clients may have real-world applications they want to focus on in their lives, and you can help them learn skills they need to manage work or go about their daily routine at home. You can guide them through steps to take when they begin to feel fatigued.
Pursue Physical Therapy Continuing Education
PT continuing education is one way to stay abreast of autoimmune disorder issues and the role you play in treating them. With the right treatment, you can help your clients restore function throughout the body and feel much more mobile. Your goal as a physical therapist is to focus on continuing education that enables you to bring your clients the best possible care. Physical Therapy Courses can help you do precisely this. Sign up today!