Can Physical Therapy Help With Mental Health?

Can Physical Therapy Help With Mental Health? | Capitol Physical Therapy Washington DC | Spine Therapist

If your tooth hurts, you go see a dentist.

If you’re having trouble communicating, you go see a speech therapist.

If you’re having trouble seeing, you go see an optometrist.

If you’re struggling with mental health, you go see a psychotherapist.

And of course, if you’re dealing with chronic regional pain syndrome, sports & running injuries, or a number of other physical ailments, our physical therapist in Washington DC is your best bet.

When it comes to healthcare, it seems like there’s a lot of segmentation.

So you can be forgiven for thinking your healthcare treatment is segmented as well.

But there’s more overlap than it might seem.

After all, everything in our bodies is interconnected.

In particular, the connection between our physical health and our mental health is deeper than you might expect.

The Science Behind It

When it comes to issues like depression, there are a number of different factors at play.

Depression is a complex mental disorder with a wide range of different possible causes and treatments.

As a result, there is no “one size fits all” treatment for depression, and healthcare providers might offer a variety of possible solutions.

One of them is exercise.

It might seem like the last thing you want to do when you’re floating in the depths of depression, but physical activity has been shown to help manage symptoms of depression.

How does this work?

First, physical activity releases endorphins in your brain.

Endorphins are hormones your body releases as a result of certain activities.

These can include eating, having sex, making art or being creative, and exercise.

Their purpose is to make you feel good – they reduce pain and increase pleasure.

However, in some cases, depression is associated with a deficiency in endorphins.

That’s why we often gravitate to activities that produce endorphins when we’re feeling down.

In particular, though, a lot of research has looked at the benefits of exercise for depression.

A 2004 paper by Craft & Perna took a look at a wide range of different studies from the 1960’s to the early 2000’s, and found that the vast majority showed benefit between exercise and depression.

Another study, this one from 2014 by Vancampfort, Morien, and Marchal, suggests that exercise can be just as effective as a pharmaceutical antidepressant for mild and moderate cases of depression.

Beyond this, exercise can help with depression by:

  • Helping build your confidence
  • Broadening your social opportunities
  • Pulling you out of a depressive spiral

how to improve your mental health with physical therapary | Capitol Physical Therapy Washington DC | Spine Therapist

But What About Physical Therapy?

The above information is great when it comes to exercise in general.

And of course, all physical therapy involves a certain amount of physical activity.

But physical activity is certainly not solely the domain of physical therapy.

What can physical therapy offer in terms of helping with depression that you couldn’t get from simply going for a run around the block?

Physical therapy can help with a wide variety of different physical ailments, including:

For many of these conditions, pain management is a significant part of the approach.

When dealing with issues related to physical pain, often the last thing you want to do is anything strenuous with your body.

This is especially the case where your condition restricts your mobility, like with Achilles tendon pain or pelvic pain.

As a result, ailments with physical health often have a mental health connection.

By removing the barriers that can stand in the way of your ability to exercise, physical therapy can make it easier for you to use exercise as a way to deal with your depression.

But the treatment itself has its benefits as well.

A 2012 study by Wideman, Scott, Martel, and Sullivan starts with the statistic that between a quarter and half of all physical therapy patients with orthopedic injuries have symptoms of depression along with them.

The study followed 106 different people diagnosed with orthopedic injuries and symptoms of depression through their seven weeks of physical therapy.

It found that fully 40% of the participants had their depressive symptoms resolved during their physical therapy treatments.

At the same time, there was a positive correlation between those with better improvement in their injury and those with better improvement in their mental health.

So if you’re struggling with a physical ailment, it’s not surprising that you might be struggling with depression as well.

And while a physical therapist is not a mental health practitioner per se, we can still help you feel better, in body and mind.

Book An Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy

Are you struggling with depression along with a physical ailment?

If so, there is help.

Book an appointment today with Capitol Physical Therapy.

Capitol Physical Therapy
1331 H St NW #200,
Washington, DC 20005


9560 Pennsylvania Ave. # 202,
Upper Marlboro, MD 20772


Capitol Physical Therapy offers orthopedic and other pain related solutions, with our versitile team of physical therapists in Washington, DC