Tips to Get the Most Out of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is invaluable in treating injury and helping patients return to work or activities they want to continue. While a professional physical therapist is there to provide the counsel and coaching, patients have a critical role to play in their treatment. What follows is a simple list of Do’s and Don’ts patients should consider to get the most out of their therapy.
Do try and pinpoint exactly when the pain started. Many issues are best identified and treated when an accurate timeline is provided.
Don’t skip sessions. Physical therapy sessions build upon themselves. You need to diligently keep to your therapy to realize maximum benefit. Further, it’s not a good idea to skip a session because you are in pain. By keeping your appointment when you are in pain, your therapist can help assess the problem and devise a new exercise regimen to help bring relief.
Do set goals. Therapy is a grind and it can get frustrating. By setting goals (walking without pain, lifting a certain amount, etc.) a patient can really keep engaged and motivated to keep up with therapy.
Don’t be a wallflower. If you have questions, speak up and ask your therapist. If it hurts doing the exercise, make sure they know. Therapists need feedback to make the most of their treatments.
Do the work outside of your sessions. Most therapy sessions are very involved and thorough, but in many cases your therapist will want you to do exercises outside of the session. For maximum benefit, patients need to continue those exercises at home.
Don’t treat your session like your annual physical. While your general practitioner evaluates your overall physical condition, your therapist is a specialist and is trying to heal a specific injury. While they can treat multiple areas during a single visit, a new issue is really going to need its own evaluation to determine the best course of treatment.
Do make a special place at home for your work. Just like in school when we taught to do homework in the same place every night, you should find a quiet and distraction-free space to do your exercises. By doing this you will improve your focus and drive.
Don’t assume therapy ends with the last session. The biggest risk of injury is a previous history of an injury. Once treatment has concluded, PTs can recommend how to prevent injuries in the future through things like exercises, adjusting equipment like a bicycle set up, looking at running gait and more.