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What Types of Physical Therapy for Seniors Provide the Most Benefits?

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What Types of Physical Therapy for Seniors Provide the Most Benefits?

There are many different types of physical therapy exercises and techniques that can benefit seniors. It is important to encourage seniors to start slowly, take cues from their bodies, and be patient as they go through their recovery, strengthening, and maintenance process. However, the most important thing a person should do during treatment is to be proactive when it comes to their own care.


Manual therapy for seniors is a therapeutic process that involves therapists using their hands to relieve the pain and improve mobility with the following techniques:

  • Stretching

  • Joint mobilization

  • Soft tissue massages

Sometimes, physical therapists can take a six-month process and turn it into a three-month process, or a one-year process of turning into a six-month process just by including some of the skills that accompany manual therapy techniques.


For seniors to continue doing the things they love, they can benefit from maintaining their strength and muscle mass.

What types of strength training exercises might seniors do during physical therapy?

Some examples that are common in this setting include:

  • Flexion and extension movements for the knees and hips

  • Straight-leg lifts with weights from a sitting position

  • Standing heel raises


Flexibility is important for people of all ages, and it’s especially important for seniors.

As people age, flexibility becomes more and more limited. This can lead to discomfort from increased strain on joints when doing everyday tasks like bending down to tie your shoes or reaching up to get a dish from a shelf.

A physical therapist might use a variety of exercises to improve a senior’s range of motion and reduce the chances of a future injury.

What types of exercises might seniors do during physical therapy to increase flexibility?

Some popular examples are:

  • toe touches

  • hamstring stretches

  • quadriceps stretches

These types of simple movements can affect function later on when they become more difficult or painful to perform alone.


One physical aspect that many people overlook is improving their balance or stability.

It is important to maintain a good balance in order to avoid falls because there is the risk of serious injury or even complete loss of mobility.

Just the fear of falling can cause some people to stop trying to get around independently.

To improve balance, physical therapists could assist patients in performing exercises like:

  • Side leg raises

  • Standing on one leg

  • Hopping around the room on one leg

These are exercises that just about anyone can do or work their way towards improving no matter what shape they’re in.

To learn more about physical therapy at CCH, visit call 307-688-8000.

Author: Dr. Natalie Thomas, PT, DPT


  • Category: Rehabilitation Services