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The Role of Nutrition in Physical Therapy Treatment

Ever thought of your meal plate as a secret weapon to supercharge your rehabilitation in physical therapy? 

While mobility, strength and muscle release are essential components of recovery, many people overlook the powerful benefits of nutrition.

Dive in with us as we uncover the relationship between what you eat and how it can accelerate your body’s recovery time. To help you make more informed nutritional decisions that will compliment your physical therapy treatment plan, our team at Park North Physical Therapy has put together a short guide.

Connect With Professionals Who Understand the Role of Nutrition in Physical Therapy Treatment

Recovering from major surgery, like joint replacements or reconstruction, is challenging for the body which is why you may want to put together a recovery support team of professionals. This could include your doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, and a nutrition expert. The experts assisting your recovery will be able to direct people toward specific foods and nutrients for pain reduction, improved circulation, inflammation relief and more. 

For example, you may want to chat with the following nutrition experts:


These nutrition experts earn certifications to prescribe meal plans to their clients. You can take your eating habits to the next level by speaking with a dietician. Their extensive knowledge about food and how it serves the human body will also greatly benefit your recovery experience. 


Nutritionists will offer more generalized food advice than a dietician, but many people still find their services helpful and informative when creating the basis for a meal plan. The average nutritionist doesn’t need a certification to use the title unless they modify it with “registered” or “certified.”

Reach out to us at Park North PT, and we can connect you with a local New York City Dietician or Nutritionist to help you build out a well-balanced meal plan.

>> Book an appointment with Park North Physical Therapy

Foods to Explore for Better Health and Faster Recovery

Learning about the role of nutrition in physical therapy treatment begins with understanding which foods will best serve your injury and recovery. For instance, musculoskeletal healing will require specific nutrients to support the rebuilding of tissue and inflammation reduction.

Whole Foods

The first step involves solely crafting meal plans from whole foods. Processed foods, like packaged meats, could extend and exacerbate the inflammatory phase of healing. Unfortunately, inflammation can have negative effects on your joints and end up causing more pain.

Foods High in Protein

The next step would be to increase your protein intake. This important addition will help the body combat muscular atrophy and rebuild strength. In particular, protein is invaluable for when you perform increasingly strenuous therapeutic exercises. 

Although weight watching might tempt you, it’s best to avoid decreasing your caloric intake. This shock to the system can prolong your recovery experience, so choose better foods rather than drop the calories. Try the following:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Poultry 

Throughout your PT regimen, dietary fats such as Omega-3 fatty acids can be just as important as quality proteins. These healthy fats have extensive benefits, including fighting inflammation, preventing oxidative stress and relieving pain. 

Explore healthy fat options such as:

  • Fish oil
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Almonds and pecans (or nut butter containing both)
  • Fruits and Vegetables

Many PT patients face irregular bowel movements due to medication or curtailed exercise. Thankfully, a balanced, plant-based diet can help your digestive system while your body heals. Plus, colorful fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which can also speed up your healing process, reduce fatigue and help you feel fuller following meals.

Would you like to learn more about our physical therapy services? Book an appointment with Park North Physical Therapy or call us at 212-222-6525!