Depression in Patients with Chronic Illnesses

For patients living with depression and other mental health disorders, physical therapists can address physical limitations and help to establish a regular exercise routine that ensures continued benefits. Science shows that the human brain releases endorphins during exercise that help reduce pain and make living with a chronic illness more manageable. As physical activity increases, patients often see self-esteem, energy levels and body image follow an upward trajectory as well.

“Since I’ve been coming to PTS, I feel like I have my life back again and a plan!”  -- D.B. Centennial

Physical therapists rely on outcome-based evidence to identify the root cause of a patient’s dysfunction, pain or comorbidities such as depression. The rehabilitation professionals are trained to help patients improve strength, flexibility and mobility through individualized exercise plans. When symptoms of depression are present, patients are unable to achieve their desired results without the help of healthcare providers like physical therapists.

“Some days when my pain flares up it’s depressing, but now that I have a tool box from my physical therapist, I know how I can manage and get back to my Pilates.”  N.W. -- Littleton

A focus on being more physically active is important for patients with chronic illnesses. If left untreated, depression can increase the patient’s risk of developing other conditions such as dementia and cardiovascular disease. Physical therapists are trained to teach patients how to incorporate exercises and lifestyle changes that prevent injuries and improve overall health and well-being.

 

About the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association:  Founded in 1956, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association champions the success of physical therapist-owned businesses. Our members are leaders and innovators in the health care system. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. For more information, please visit www.ppsapta.org.