Physical therapy can be a miracle process for many people, especially those recovering from an injury or a repetitive stress condition. Whether you need short-term healing or long-term habit changes, the following can help you get the most from your physical therapy sessions.
1. Set Goals
Goals are an important way to track progress. When you first visit with your physical therapist, they will help you develop achievable goals. Ideally, you should have an overall goal, such as regaining lost range of motion, along with small goals that are designed to be achieved in the time between sessions. Your main focus should be on those small goals. Skipping those to only focus on the overall goal can make slow progress seem disappointing or it can cause you to push too far while you are healing.
2. Do Your Homework
Physical therapy doesn't end when you leave the office. You will likely be prescribed stretches, exercises, or even behavior changes to implement between appointments. Carve time out of your day to complete these exercises as recommended. Failure to do so will slow progress and sometimes arrest the healing process entirely.
3. Be Honest
Be honest, both with yourself and your therapist. If a prescribed exercise, for example, is too difficult or painful, don't try to soldier through it. Instead, work with your therapist. Often, pain is considered a bad thing in physical therapy, so pushing through can cause major damage to your muscles or tendons. Further, be honest about how well you are maintaining the at-home exercises and habits. If you are having trouble implementing them, your therapist may be able to help.
4. Keep Records
Keep a small journal record of your daily therapy exercises along with how you felt before, during, and after performing them. Also, keep notes on anything else that may seem important for your condition. For example, if you are seeking therapy for a hurt shoulder and you notice it hurts more after using your laptop on the couch, make note of this for your next session. Your therapist can then assess your posture and make recommendations to solve the issue.
5. Stay Consistent
Consistency is key. Physical therapy sessions are usually offered and regular intervals for a reason — consistency. Don't miss or arrive late to appointments, as this is both rude and can delay your recovery. Consistently perform the exercises prescribed, as well.
For more help, contact a physical therapy office in your area.