You have an injury to a certain part of your body or you may have had recent surgery. In either case, you saw a doctor and they prescribed physical therapy. You’re determined to get better, but you’re not exactly sure what it all is, exactly. Don’t worry. When it’s all broken down, it’s easier to know what you’re going to be doing with your physical therapist and the reasons behind what they are doing.

Here are some answers to questions that you may have about physical therapy.

  • What is physical therapy for? It’s basically treatment to help you regain motion, function, and movement in the area that was hurt. Do you have pain in the area? Physical therapy can help. It can even be used to prevent the need for surgery on a certain part of your body. It can be of use to people who have had strokes or chronic illnesses.
  • What are the different types of physical therapy? It depends on the severity of your injury and your mobility, or lack thereof. Your physical therapist may have to do all the initial work by doing things like maneuvering body parts. As time goes on, you may gain strength to partake in part of the exercises with the goal being to get you to do things on your own. The types of physical therapy include massage, heat or cold, ultrasound, and warm water therapy. It depends on your situation.
  • How long does physiotherapy take? The length depends on how severe your injury is. If it’s a relatively minor one, you might only need to go two or three times. If you have a soft tissue injury, then you might go in for six to eight weeks. If it’s a really severe injury, then two months might be on the conservative side. The amount of time depends on how you progress after each visit.
  • How effective is physiotherapy? There has been a lot of research done in both the United States and the United Kingdom that has shown physiotherapy to be quite effective. People who have had back, joint, shoulder, neck, and injuries to the ankle, knee and wrist have reported that they feel much better after sessions.
  • How do you know if it’s working? While the most obvious answer might be “You see improvement!” – it’s not that clear-cut. It depends on how bad the injury is. People may need to take the long-term view that the recovery process could be seen as being a marathon and not a sprint. Small milestones may be appreciated.
  • Who needs it? People of all ages and genders can need physical therapy. Women who have just given birth have seen a physical therapist. Those who have been fitted for an artificial limb can benefit from physical therapy. Do you have balance issues? Seeing a physical therapist can be a boon for you. Almost anyone can gain from seeing a physical therapist. 
  • How much should physical therapy sessions cost? This depends on whether you have insurance or not. Insurance companies can cover a good amount of the cost – you could pay as little as $30 per session. Without insurance, it could be $150. Things like what kind of equipment is used can determine what you pay.
  • Do physical therapists do massages? Do not make the mistake of assuming that this is the equivalent of a massage at a spa. It’s more devoted to loosening tight muscles and sometimes that can be more intense than at the spa. It’s all for your benefit.
  • Can physical therapy hurt you more? The goal of physical therapy is to challenge you to get better. There may be some times that you have to push through fatigue or even mild discomfort, but you should not feel pain. That means that your form may be off. Your physical therapist will be working with you to ensure that you get back on track properly.
  • Should you do PT exercises every day? Ideally, you should do them every day. It’s best to help your body gain strength and you should eventually be able to ramp up the weights and duration as time goes on. Changing it up will challenge your body to get stronger.
  • How many times should you do PT sessions per week? When you first start, your physical therapist may want to see you three times a week. Then they eventually may lower that to two times a week. The thought process is that the thrice-weekly sessions will build you up and then you get to maintain it afterwards.
  • What should you do after a physical therapy session? You may feel sore after your session, so putting ice on the area can help with that. Also, drink a lot of water. Hydration is very important, especially during the hotter months of the year. Follow any other instructions you were given and don’t hesitate to write them down so it will be easier for you to follow.
  • How can you get the most out of your physical therapy? There are several things that you can do. Before you start, take the most detailed history of your injury that you can think of. Talk with your physical therapist about the plan of action. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Physical therapists are more than happy to explain things to you. Ask why a certain exercise is being done.

Both physical therapy and physiotherapy can help a lot of people. It’s just very important for people to be well-informed before they head to their first session. It will help the therapist during the diagnostic part and it also can make for a much better experience. It’s your body, and you want to do right by it.

The staff at Empire Physical Medicine and Pain Management are experts at helping people recover from injury and manage any pain in their lives. They work closely with each patient and have individualized plans for each one. All of this is done in a thoroughly sterilized environment. Give them a call today to make an appointment: 646-665-7109. They have locations in both Midtown Manhattan and Wall Street.