Why do we regularly change the oil in our cars, but don’t check in on our body?

Sep14th 2017

FALL is here! And that means everyone from the high school athlete to the weekend warrior is getting back into a routine and ramping up their activities. As you increase your activity level, you may find that you aren’t as physically capable as you once were, or maybe you have been ignoring a nagging pain for far too long or perhaps there’s a longer race distance looming on the horizon.

Whatever the reason, just as a regular oil change promises to keep your car running at its peak performance, an evaluation by a physical therapist may be just what you need to rev up your own engine and get back on the road safely. A recent health segment that aired on The Today Show, featuring sports medicine physician Dr. Jordan Metzl and a team of physical therapists from the Hospital for Special Surgery, shared tips for staying healthy as we enjoy a number of summer activities from bike riding and running to kayaking and swimming.

Under the supervision of a physical therapist, you can increase mobility, strength and decrease pain in order to prevent injuries and improve your overall performance. You will also be given tools and a plan to recover faster. Physical therapists are trained to take care of the entire kinetic chain, that is, all of your joints and muscles from head to toe. When you take your car in for an oil change, the mechanic changes the oil, replaces the oil filter and inspects your tires, air conditioning, battery and more. You’ll likely head home with a list of future needs such as rotating the tires or changing the air filter and your car will be good to go for the next 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Similarly, a physical therapist is trained to evaluate your strength, body mechanics, posture and mobility, and to set reasonable goals for your recovery or fitness aspirations. This doesn’t mean that you will need to attend sessions regularly, it could be a one time thing and you are good to go for the next few months!

By gathering a thorough assessment of your strengths and limitations, the physical therapist will devise a therapy plan that may include a maintenance component. In many parts of the United States, fall is a season to experience, and there’s only so much time to get outside and participate in the activities we enjoy most. So, what are you waiting for? Making an appointment with a physical therapist might be the difference between puttering through life and living at high performance.