How to Get the Most Out of Physical Therapy

get the most out of physical therapy

A lot of people can benefit from physical therapy – not just athletes or people who have been in accidents. Physical therapy can help anyone who is struggling with pain, weakness, or limited mobility improve their quality of life.

When you attend physical therapy, you will spend an hour or so with a physical therapist. He or she will teach you stretches, positions, and movements that may help release tension, relieve pain, and help improve your mobility. Your physical therapist will also instruct you to practice these movements at home.

Regardless of why you are going to physical therapy, you know it can be expensive and time-consuming. As a result, it’s important to know how you can get the most out of physical therapy. Here’s what we suggest.

Prepare For Your Appointment Beforehand

At your very first appointment, your physical therapist (PT) will conduct a thorough examination of your body and ask you many questions about your condition. They will ask you what the pain is like, when it started, if it gets worse at a certain time of the day, or any other details they need to know.

It is extremely helpful if you, as the patient, are prepared for your appointment. Oftentimes, we like to think that we know our medical history by heart and that answering our doctor’s questions won’t be hard. However, this is rarely the case.

If you don’t go in prepared, you may forget little details about your injury and your pain. The more detailed and accurate information you provide, the more successful your treatment can be.

Before going to physical therapy, you can prepare by keeping a symptom journal and writing down any and all information that you think might be useful for your PT. You should also gather your medical records so they are ready to hand over to your PT.

Dress Appropriately

Just like the name indicates, physical therapy is physical. As a result, you should come to your appointments dressed appropriately. This means you should wear tennis shoes or other supportive, closed-toed shoes, workout pants, and a comfortable shirt. You want to be able to move around comfortably without worrying about your clothes moving out of place.

If you don’t dress for therapy, you’ll be unable to move in the way your therapist wants you to. This can cause you to not get the most out of your session.

Dedicate A Special Place For Your Exercises

After each session, your PT will teach you specific exercises or movements that he or she wants you to do until your next session. You may even have a set schedule of when you should be doing these exercises.

It can be helpful to set aside a special place that is dedicated to your exercises. Whether that is outside by the pool, in your living room, or in your at-home gym, having a spot dedicated for your PT will help you stay motivated and on-track with your homework.

Never Forget To Do Your Homework

Speaking of homework, it’s imperative that you actually do your homework. Physical therapy sessions only last 1-3 hours. That isn’t enough time to rebuild your strength and regain your mobility. Instead, a lot of the work needs to be done at home – so you must make sure to do it if you want therapy to work.

The exercises prescribed by your PT will improve joint health, mobility, and muscle strength – but only if you practice them correctly and with repetition. If you don’t follow the directions and aren’t consistent, you may not see the results you are wanting to see.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Communication is so important when it comes to physical therapy. Too many patients think it is normal to feel an ache or pain, so they don’t mention it. However, these little details are essential, and telling them to your PT may allow your PT to solve your problems.

In addition, it’s helpful to ask questions. Your PT will want to know that you understand your treatment and are satisfied with your care. If you have a concern or query, you should always speak up. Only after your concerns are addressed can your therapy become successful.

Don’t Miss Your Appointments

There may be days where you are sore or are in pain and become tempted to skip your appointment. The truth is that this is exactly when you need to go to physical therapy the most.

PTs are trained to assess and treat pain and soreness, so they can adjust your treatment for that day so that you are no longer in pain. The more consistent you are about attending your appointments and the fewer appointments you miss, the better.

Don’t Give Up

Injuries can happen in an instant, but the healing process is slow. It requires patience and persistence. No matter how long it takes you, it’s vital that you don’t get discouraged and keep on trying. Once treatment is over, your PT can make recommendations on how you can prevent future injuries from happening later down the line.