By Dr. Beth Templin
We are all familiar with the idea of an Annual Check-up with your physician, but what's an Annual Check-up with a Physical Therapist? And why should your add one to your medical routine?
Every year you schedule a visit with your physician for an Annual Check-up. During that visit they will monitor and manage your medical health. They will look at areas such as your blood pressure, perform labs such as cholesterol and A1C, obtain your height and weight, review of your medical and family history, and review your current medications.
If you are going in for your Medicare Wellness visit, they will also ask questions about falls, depression, cognition, and elder abuse.
They will make recommendations on preventative screenings like a bone density scan, a colonoscopy, or a mammogram.
The annual check-up visit is considered to be the minimum standard of care, and most people follow this recommendation through-out their lives, or at least once they begin to experience any issues with their health.
While this is something I think everyone needs to do, it only covers a small portion of your overall health. When you have an Annual Check-up with a Physical Therapist, we focus on a completely different area of your health, your physical health. This includes: your balance, strength, endurance, flexibility, posture, and your ability to move around and complete your normal activities on a day to day basis.
These components of your health can have a huge impact on your quality of life, sometimes even more than medical issues alone. Once you start to have trouble with your mobility, and begin to lose your independence; It can be just as challenging to correct, as managing a chronic health condition, like heart disease or diabetes.
Just like medical health guidelines for normal blood pressures, cholesterol levels and weights exist, Physical Therapists have normal values for all of the testing we do. For example, a male age 76, should be able to stand up from a chair at least 14 times in 30 sec, without use of his hands. If he scores only 10 times during his Annual Check-up, we could then have a discussion on how his leg strength has declined faster than it should have.
We can look at his current exercise routine, if he has one, and make modifications accordingly. The goal of the Annual Therapy Check-up is similar to that of seeing your physician, identify issues as early as possible, and then course correct.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recommends an Annual Check-up for all ages. At HouseFit, we recommend an Annual Check-up for everyone, but especially those who:
Annual check-ups are most effective when you actually have them every year, so don't put yours off any longer!
- Dr. Beth
Dr. Beth helps adults 55+ maximize their independence and fitness, so they can continue to enjoy a full and active life.