Physical therapy has always been shrouded in mystery, and the truth is many people don’t really know what it is. Some think that physical therapists only stretch muscles, or rehabilitate athletes. Others feel as though physical therapy is an intense massage, or even just a way to avoid being stiff after a workout. As a physical therapist with many years of experience, I can honestly say that, despite all these conflicting ideas about physical therapy, one thing remains constant: most people believe we heal pain. And yes – we do heal pain, but what most people don’t understand is that physical therapy is NOT only about healing pain… it is about SO much more than that. This may sound controversial, but keep reading.
Do you Have a Fear of Falling?
If you generally step more gently as you go down the stairs, hold the hand-railing a little bit tighter, and take careful note of where your feet land next… you’re not alone. The vast majority of us, whether consciously or subconsciously, fear the sudden jolt and feeling of vertigo related to taking a tumble – not to mention the pain that comes afterwards! Our worst fears are realized when we start to think about the horrendous consequences of a fall: hip fractures, muscle tears, back pain, even broken legs. Yikes! Is it any wonder that a common theme in nightmares is falling out of bed? In fact, a fear of falling is so common that most people don’t even know they’re afraid! That’s right – the fear isn’t consciously spoken about or acknowledged. Instead, it translates into minute, prolonged posture and gait (walking) abnormalities which, if left unnoticed, can wreak havoc on one’s mobility and self-confidence. That’s why this post looks at why most people fear falling, why many don’t even recognize that fear, and – thankfully – what we can do about tackling this problem.