Get the Most Out of Physical Therapy
When it comes to your health, there is no such thing as being too prepared. We’ve been operating in this business for a long time, and one of the most common things we experience is people coming into their first physical therapy session with no idea of what to expect. Another occurrence that makes our heads spin is when people have been with us for chronic conditions for months or even years and haven’t made the progress they could have made because they think an hour a week will cover everything.
Come Prepared With Questions
If it is your first session, it is important you research what to expect (some of which can be found right on our blog!) and what questions you may have. Like most healthcare professionals, we can only work with the information others provide us. So forget about TMI, as there is no such thing. WebMD recommends that you “bring a list of your meds to your first appointment and any X-rays or MRIs [and] make notes ahead of time about your symptoms, such as which movements cause pain and when the problem started.” These things will help us identify the problem and work more effectively toward a solution.
It is an Intimate Experience
Speaking of nothing being TMI, you will need to be comfortable with people placing their hands on you. A big element of physical therapy is in the doctor’s need to manipulate your bones and muscles to help relieve the painful symptoms you may be experiencing. If you are averse to things like that, it might be best to mentally prepare yourself prior to getting on the table. In Touch Physical Therapy notes, “Touch can occur for many reasons during a physical therapy session: as a massage, as a stretch, as a way to explore the painful joint or tendon. Each time it occurs; however, it delivers a number of important benefits to patients that help them to gain confidence in their bodies, in their therapist, and in their journey toward health.” We take the trust you place in us to be in a vulnerable position very seriously, and you will be in safe hands every step of the way.
Do Your Homework After Sessions
As mentioned earlier, an hour a week is insufficient for certain conditions. If you are experiencing serious, chronic pain as the result of a traumatic injury, you need to put in the work outside of the session as well. The experts at Arthritis and Sports echo this by saying, “The work you do with your physical therapist can only take you so far, so your plan will often include a number of at-home exercises that you must do each day. This ‘homework’ will help you continue to progress in between your sessions, so it’s very important for patients to commit themselves to the treatment plan.” It’s important to stick to your homework if you want to recover as fully as possible.
Good Things Take Time
Rome wasn’t built in a day. As much as we’d love to make it happen, a traumatic injury or chronic condition can’t be cured with one visit. Patience is a virtue in all areas of life, and recovery is no different. NextAvenue states, “Physical therapy requires patience…. both with the process and yourself.” We understand as much as anyone that it can be incredibly frustrating to suffer pain. We know how badly you wish it could just go away with the snap of a finger. However, practicing patience will take a huge weight off not only your mind but your body as well, as stress only makes the pain worse. Believe in the process. That is the real first step.
We hope these tips will help you get the most out of physical therapy, whether you are preparing for your first session or your fiftieth. If you have any questions about how we can help you, we welcome you to stop by the office anytime.