What are Physical Therapy Benefits for Diabetes Management?

Physical therapy benefits in action

What is Physical Therapy?

A common misconception of physical therapy is that it is only beneficial for people who are injured. However, physical therapy can also help other people, like those with chronic illnesses or aging. This is because physical therapy can help with movement and preventative care for multiple conditions. Some physical therapy benefits can improve mobility, reduce the need for drugs, and reduce a person’s pain. Physical therapists work very closely with their patients so their treatment plans are personalized as well.


How Physical Therapy can help with Diabetes Symptoms

Medication, diet, and exercise are 3 common and great ways to manage diabetes and should not be stopped. However, physical therapy can also manage the symptoms of diabetes and is a great add-on to your normal routine.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a symptom of diabetes when a person damages the nerves in their body caused by high blood sugar levels. While there is no cure for this symptom, physical therapy offers an alternate way than medicine to offer pain relief. Even though it can be painful to move, going to physical therapy will improve the balance lost, restore mobility, and some of the sensations lost.


Physical therapy requires a person to move which means you are exercising. Exercise can help you lose weight, which helps in reducing the symptoms of diabetes. A physical therapist can instruct a person on the best and safe ways to exercise to manage their diabetes. Also, physical therapy, specifically resistance training, tends to target the muscles and the muscles burn more glucose than fat which can make it easier to achieve blood sugar level goals. Resistance exercises also allow the body to better use insulin to soak up sugars that would otherwise stay in the bloodstream.


Overall Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy offers other benefits outside of helping with diabetes management.

  • It can improve your range of motion and athletic performance. Typically done through strength and flexibility exercises.
  • Can help manage and cope with symptoms of aging.
  • Improve balance and reduce the risk of falling.
  • Manage heart and lung disease through strengthening, conditioning, and breathing exercises.

Of course, physical therapy is also used when a person is sick or injured, as a recovery tool. Physical therapy helps eliminate pain and/or heal from an injury. In fact, there are some injuries that would normally require surgery but can be healed with physical therapy, which saves money.


Can You do Physical Therapy at Home?

Yes, you can do physical therapy at home but there are some aspects to keep in mind. After seeing a licensed physical therapist, you should be able to get a program that can be done at home and is personalized and safe for you to do. If you want to skip the licensed therapist step and look up routines and exercises on the internet, here are some tips.

  • Try to be gentle and find gentle stretches or easy exercises.
  • Don’t try aggressive or complicated exercises because they might cause damage to your body without proper instruction.
  • When looking up different exercises on the internet, find trusted sources like this one.
  • Try to stay away from social media and message board advice.
  • Also, keep in mind not to push past the pain, a physical therapist will make sure home exercises will not cause you extra pain. So, any routine that causes pain will not help your body but damage it.


In Conclusion

Physical therapy offers many health benefits for overall health and diabetes management. Physical therapy is a great add-on to a good diet, exercise routine, and medication already used for diabetes management. For more information and tips on physical therapy check out this podcast.

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