According to the CDC, heart disease is an all-too-common reality for over 20.1 million adults ages 20 and older. If you’ve recently lived through an episode of what has proven to be one of the leading causes of death for adults in the United States, it can be hard to decide what to do next. Healing from such a distressing incident takes time, and physical therapy can aid the rehabilitation process as well as improve your overall heart health. At New Heights Physical Therapy, we’re dedicated to helping our patients recover and gain back strength after any injury or disease-related complication. If you’ve recently suffered from or have ongoing heart-related issues, we’re here to support you and stand by your side in the recovery period.
Beginning the Rehabilitation Process
Whether you’ve experienced a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery, cardiac rehab is essential to properly healing both mentally and physically. Our treatment for heart disease is not unlike the other forms of therapy we offer at New Heights Therapy. Here, we follow a three-phase program that includes:
- Reaction, which starts in the first 24-72 hours after your injury. Where most would rely on painkillers to ease the swelling or muscle spasms post-accident, our technicians can help you take advantage of your body’s natural repair process.
- Regeneration over the course of around 6-8 weeks, when your body begins to create more tissue around the injured area and repair damaged nerve connections.
- Remodeling up until a year after your initial injury. Even after you no longer feel any residual pain, physical therapy is still recommended in order to create the connective tissue you need to thrive and prevent repeat injuries in the future.
Your doctor will work with you to develop a plan that is best suited for your health and may consult a physical therapist in evaluating any impairments that need to be taken into consideration. Once you are approved to participate in a cardiac rehab program, it’s time to take the next step toward recovery!
Recovery Through Education
When you begin your rehabilitation, one of the most important steps is education. Your physical therapist is dedicated to helping you better understand your own heart health and will work with you every step of the way. Education methods include:
- Understanding the current state of your heart and why you are experiencing heart-related issues.
- Learning about proper exercise procedures and how to safely practice them.
- Being taught how to monitor your own heart rate and asses your exertion levels during exercise.
- Knowing what to avoid in the healing process and understanding what will help you achieve success.
- Identifying stressors that hurt your heart and learning how to tackle sources of stress.
- Setting goals for your heart health that will give you something to work toward.
Through education, patients are often more confident in their ability to heal and have a smoother recovery period. By getting familiar with your own heart health, you can make better lifestyle choices post-recovery.
Cardiac Physical Therapy Exercises
Because your heart is still in recovery mode, it is crucial not to overdo your exercise regime. This is why physical therapy plays such an important role in cardiac rehabilitation. Working together with your physical therapist enables you to be monitored and learn about what exercises are best for your particular situation. Independent and group exercise can help you gain confidence, and the presence of a physical therapist ensures you are increasing your exercise tolerance safely. An array of activities may be included in your rehab program including flexibility, strengthening, and aerobic exercises. Once you feel confident enough, at-home exercises will continue to help you get back to normal and decrease the risk of future heart disease complications.
Physical Therapy FAQs
Q. Is physical therapy covered by insurance?
A. At New Heights Physical Therapy Plus, we cover most major insurances in the PNW area. For added security, our team will review and verify your benefits before your initial service.
Q. What is the best physical therapy treatment for heart disease?
A. The best treatment will differ on a case-by-case basis, but your program may include low-impact physical activities like jogging and cycling, as well as muscle strengthening.
Q. What happens after physical therapy for cardiovascular disease?
A. After you finish your program here, it’ll be up to you to make some crucial lifestyle changes and stick with them. This may include quitting smoking, maintaining a lower blood pressure, or keeping up with a new exercise regimen.
Physical Therapy for a Better Heart
Even if you haven’t suffered from a serious heart-related issue, physical therapy and monitored exercise is essential to adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Physical therapists are committed to helping patients lead a healthier life through education and exercise. At New Heights Therapy, we know how life-changing heart disease is and love helping our patients improve their heart health and confidence after a traumatic experience. You owe it to your heart to be committed to anything that helps you live a long and healthy life – so contact us today to get started!