By Dr. Chris Mulvey, PT
It’s no secret that Charlotte County’s population skews toward an older demographic.
Although we won’t know data from the 2020 U.S. Census until the end of March, recent estimates determined the median age in Charlotte County was 60.2 years old – second highest in Florida. That’s why the region has so many medical facilities, 55+ residential communities and ample senior-friendly amenities like pickleball, golf, shuffleboard and bingo halls.
Perhaps it’s also no surprise that Charlotte County has an abundance of physical therapy clinics. After all, seniors have a greater need for physical therapy services as they age. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Charlotte County with the highest ratio of physical therapists as part of the working population in the nation at 4.83 physical therapists for every 1,000 jobs. Other communities in the Top 5 aren’t even close. Trailing Charlotte County is Abilene, Texas (4.26 per 1,000 jobs), Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (3.92 per 1,000 jobs), Gadsden, Alabama (3.82 per 1,000 jobs) and Rochester, Minnesota (3.57 per 1,000 jobs).
Although individuals of all ages benefit from physical therapy, the knowledge and expertise of physical therapists is especially helpful to older populations.
Our bodies change as we age. We lose muscle tone and flexibility over time. Our knees and hips give out. Our balance can be shaky at times.
Physical therapists can help with all of that!
FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers has two convenient locations in Charlotte County, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, as well as neighboring North Port and Venice. The Sarasota-based company operates more than 400 locations across 45 states, but a cluster of 21 centers from Ellenton through Naples represents a high-growth market for the company.
FYZICAL clinics offer a wide range of wellness solutions, but these five physical therapy services are among the most popular for patients in Charlotte County:
• Balance therapy: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in four Americans ages 65 and older will experience a fall each year. In fact, falls are the leading cause of both fatal injury and nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. Fall-risk screenings can help patients identify compromises in balance, flexibility and strength that make them more susceptible to falls. Physical therapists outline steps to prevent future falls, which can include exercising regularly, assessing the home environment, choosing the right footwear, examining prescription labels, and visiting the optometrist and otolaryngologist.
• Neurological rehabilitation: The body’s nervous system can be damaged by injury, infection, structural defects, degeneration and tumors that can cause neurological disorders. No one is immune. Nerve disorders can occur in people of all ages. Patients can benefit greatly from neurological rehabilitation for conditions like chronic headaches, Parkinson’s disease, concussions, stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, sciatica and spinal cord injuries. The goal of neurological rehabilitation is to maximize a patient’s independence, alleviate pain, restore normal function and improve quality of life.
• Orthopedic rehabilitation: Many individuals are living with daily pain caused by arthritis, injuries, tendon or ligament damage, muscle weakness, carpal tunnel syndrome, incontinence and surgery. Orthopedic therapists help patients overcome muscle, joint or nerve pain and restore their range of motion and increase strength. Customized treatment plans can include strengthening, flexibility and cardiovascular exercises; gait, balance and posture training; manual and massage therapy; and an overall fitness and wellness program.
• Chronic back pain: A chronic condition is described as discomfort that persists for at least three months. Chronic back pain can be caused by a traumatic injury, playing high-impact sports, falling or repetitive movements that cause wear and tear on the spine, muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and nerves. Lower back pain is very common. For most people, the pain is temporary. Back pain can become long-lasting if a person has poor posture and body mechanics, unstable core muscles, ongoing walking issues or if experiencing stress and depression. Physical therapists treat chronic back pain through education, exercise therapy, manual therapy and stimulation.
• Hand therapy: The value and use of our hands is priceless, and loss of function can be especially devastating. Patients should seek treatment for fractures, amputations, arthritis, burns, cuts, nerve damage, tendon injuries and overuse conditions like carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome. Certified hand therapists specialize in the treatment of hands, as well as shoulders, elbows and wrists. Hand therapy provides therapeutic intervention and concentrates on three areas: preventing future dysfunction, restoring function and reversing the progression of the pathology.
About the Author
Dr. Chris Mulvey, PT, is president for company clinics at FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers, which has 400 locations in 45 states. For more information, please visit FYZICAL.com.