Have you been prescribed physical therapy – whether for an injury, surgery or physical condition?
Ultimately, your goal is to get back to where you were before you got hurt. While the physical therapist is there to help and guide you, you have to put in the time and effort and willingness to work to be able to get the best results.
It may seem like a challenging task, especially if you have not been one to really work out or exercise in the past. Not to worry – your physical therapist will tailor the regimen to build you up to where you need to be.
But it is up to you. Here are some of the ways to make the most of your physical therapy sessions.
Verify Your Diagnosis
While this one may seem like a no-brained, you need to know exactly what the problem is and what to expect when it comes to your road to recovery. When you go to see your physical therapist (PT) you will undergo a full evaluation, including your range of motion and seeing if there is any impairment in that area. This is where you should ask any questions about the diagnosis and listen to the treatment plan.
Learn Who You Will Be Working With
This is dependent on whether you will be going to a larger or smaller practice. Larger ones tend to have multiple patients within the same hour frame and you might be seen by a PT or a PT assistant or a tech. It’s important to get on the same page so that you know how your recovery path may go. You can even possibly learn this over the phone when you call for your first appointment. Do not be afraid to ask, though. You are the champion of your own body, after all.
Have Questions Ready
While it is true that you are there rehabilitating an injury or condition, it would be a good idea to ask how to prevent it from happening again. Ask the PT about why certain things are done to learn the intent behind a certain move or exercise. Remember that they are very familiar with how the body moves and how parts interact with each other. If they are reluctant to talk about it then they may be following a “one size fits all” plan… and that is not what you want.
Keep A Detailed History/Journal
One way to be sure about what you are doing is to write down your treatments, whether by hand in a journal or on a spreadsheet on a computer or tablet. That way you can also write some things to motivate you to keep on going when you have a bad day. It can be good to have the earlier history on hand before your first session too in order to help your PT understand exactly what happened.
It’s Not Just Exercise
Your sessions don’t have to be just rote exercise or stretches. This is also the time to pick your PT’s brain. Talk with them about what happened to your body, why the injury or condition occurred and what you can do to keep it from recurring. Learn things that you can do at home. Given the knowledge that they have, PT’s are great sources to learn about the workings of your body. So treat these sessions like you’re in a classroom, too, not just a gym.
More Is Not Always Better
It’s not necessary to go through a lot of sessions in a week. It depends on your condition – sometimes your body will need a longer period of time to recover from a session, so you might want to go once a week or even every other week. This is dependent on your doing other exercises at home in the interim, otherwise your PT may want to see you a couple of times a week.
This is not the time to treat sessions like you’re going to the gym. When you do that, you work out and leave in silence. Talk to your PT. See what you’re doing right and what you need to improve. It should be a dialogue between the two of you. Your goal is to get better and you have a valuable resource right in front of you.
Physical therapy can require a lot of effort and determination. There may be days where it feels like you are doing the same thing over and over. But it’s best to keep your eye on your ultimate goal of recovery. That way, you can savor any small victories that you accumulate on your path. Remember that your PT also wants to see you healthy again.
The most important thing that you can do after all of this is to maintain a good routine of exercise that your PT recommends. Do any stretches that may act as a preventative to recurring injuries. Eat well. Then you can resume your normal life too… and enjoy the health that comes with it.
The staff at Empire Physical Medicine & Pain Management have worked with clients of all levels of physical fitness. They will work closely with you to help you get back on track and will gladly show you what you need to do at home. Also, they take extreme care to sanitize the office before and after each visit. If you have any questions, you can call 646-665-7109 to make an appointment at either their Wall Street or Midtown Manhattan location.