You don’t need to be in your golden years or be recovering from a serious injury in order to benefit from physical therapy. In fact, physical therapists are trained to treat most common chronic issues, including the normal aging process and general wear and tear that your body experiences over the years.

Although many patients are in physical therapy for knee, hip, and spine issues, there are a range of other ailments that can be treated by a licensed physical therapist–from lower back pain, to stroke rehabilitation, and even post-natal recovery. And while physical therapy won’t exactly reverse the effects of aging or years of physical activity, these musculoskeletal experts can help you strengthen your joints, slow down the aging process, and enjoy a fuller, more pain-free life.

Is physical therapy right for you? If any of the following signs or symptoms apply to you, consider discussing them with your primary care physician, and ask for a physical therapy referral if needed:

Lingering Pain

It’s normal to experience some pain in the days following a particularly intense workout. In some cases, this can be treated by taking a break from your sport and applying ice to the affected area in 20-minute increments throughout the day. But if you’re still experiencing aches and pains, even after a few days of rest and ice, it might be time to see a physical therapist.

This also applies to recurring pain–serious injuries will sometimes show less apparent symptoms for a short period of time before returning in full force. A physical therapist can help you diagnose that recurring pain and get you on a path to recovery.

Traumatic Injury

According to Ashleigh Borwell, a San Diego-based physical therapist, sudden or traumatic injuries absolutely warrant a physical therapy visit. “If you watched yourself roll your ankle and it swelled up, or after swimming, you slipped and fell getting out of the pool, you’re going to want to come in and get it checked out,” Bordwell told Muscle tears and broken bones are two common injuries that a licensed PT can treat.

Sharp Pain

Although dull pain can typically be treated with ice and rest, sharp, centralized pain might indicate a more serious problem, such as a muscle strain or stress fracture.

Pain Medication Doesn’t Work

After experiencing a minor injury, your general physician may prescribe you a pain medication to help manage your discomfort. Although some endurance athletes are trained to ignore some aches and pains, discomfort that continues, even after taking an anti-inflammatory or pain relief drug, should not be ignored.

Noticeable Changes

Only you know your body as well as you do. So if you notice any physical changes in your body, particularly in areas in which you’re experiencing pain, schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. And don’t just pay attention to your body’s appearance–if one day you find that you can’t raise your arm as high as usual, this may indicate a serious injury as well.

Remember to always consult a physician, whether it’s your general practitioner or a specialist, if you ever notice any new or recurring medical issues. To find a licensed physical therapist in your area, the American Physical Therapist Association (APTA) has a searchable directory on their website. Or, ask your regular physician if they recommend a physical therapist in your area. Finally, some online review sites, like Google Plus, Yelp, and Healthgrades, may also have patient reviews.

Whether you currently see a physical therapist or you’re planning your first appointment, our posture-correcting shirt can help minimize the effect of your injuries on your daily life–allowing you to function with better posture and less pain. Ask your physician about ActivAided today!