Physical Therapy could help the elderly to live better and “add life to years“. This is also the slogan of the World Physical Therapy Day, celebrating on 8th September, and in this edition people over their seventies will be the main topic physiotherapists will talk about.
People in the world are aging. According to the World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT), World Population will reach 9 billion people in 2050, 2 billion of them will be over their sixties and 400 million people will be more than 80 years old. Thanks to Physical Therapy, some illness will be prevent and treated and old people will regain movement and life quality.
However, a third of people over 70 years old disregard their physical therapist recommendations about physical therapy, OMS informs. This problem makes the treatment more inefficient. The active role of the patient and his implication are the key to better results.
How can Physical Therapy helps me?
Physical Therapy insists in being more active, specially people with some problems related to age or illness. People in Physical Therapy treatment and practicing exercise reduces under 32% risk of falling down (1 old person in 3 falls at least once a year). Physical therapeutic exercise could also reduce Ictus disease risk (15% in active people).
1 case among 5 of senility is supposed to be associated to physical inactivity. In addition, 10 million cases could have been avoided with planned exercise by Physical Therapists (WCPT). In resume, and active old man / woman will be more functional, will have better life quality and his health will improve.
An personal prevalence story
Yvette Gillot (70 years old) is french and lives in Spain for more than 20 years. 15 years ago she had a home accident with medium-term consequences. “I felt down from a ladder when I was putting some curtains. Then I felt I has hurt in lumbar zone. Some years later I notice I had some difficult to coordinate my leg when walking”. Then, she starts to look for solving it.
Yvette went to the doctor and then the neurosurgeon, who detects two slipped disks (L5 and S1). She decides to get operated, but she didn’t improve. She went to the Physical Therapist and a remarkable muscular mass lost was detected. In this situation, a 2 days per week work was planned to reinforce the area. The results were optimal “I recovered a part of my mobility, specially in my ankle which was so weak”.
“I am so motivated. Now I can move on my own and I am so active. I swim and I train 2 or 3 hours per week… I walk 6 kilometres each time I went training”. Yvette loves playing sports (walking, swimming, golf…) but now she has to train to reinforce her leg and recover muscular mass.
“I am even able to do some exercises I couldn’t do one year ago, as an example, squats”
Therapeutic Exercise in Physical Therapy
Jose Casaña Granell, Physical Therapy, Physical Activity and Sport graduated, Doctor in Physical Therapy Faculty (Universitat de Valencia), talks about preventive exercise. This exercise “prevents to suffer from any alteration that has a consequent in functionality and health”.
As an example, the elderly are more likely to fall down than the youth, due to sarcopenia process. “This illness is related with muscular mass loss, from 50 years old”, specially in inferior extremity. This situation also means a decrease in functionality in daily tasks (going the stairs up and down, waking up, sitting up or walking on the street) and potential risk of suffer from falling down.
Reinforce exercise could be a preventive accurate and beneficial mesure.
Physical Therapy and Multiple Sclerosis
Among Therapeutic Exercise benefits, there are some evidence of”applying a physical exercises programe 5 days a week during a month improves muscular strength and mobility in the elderly patients will multiple sclerosis without producing acute exacerbation of symptomatology”.With this exercises, muscular growing are some substantial changes in neuromuscular function. Negative effects of sarcopenia will be also counteracted.
Physical Therapy and Isoinertial Machines
One of best ways to improve strength used this days in the elderly are isoinertial machines like EPTE inertial concept. “His kind of training, when prescribed by a Physical Therapy with enough knowledge about scheduling and measuring of therapeutic physical exercise, could result in benefit in several chronical-degenerative pathologies, the most investigated in the elderly” explain the Dr José Casaña.
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