How To Get The Most Out Of Your Physical Therapy

Posted on: 28 October 2015

An accident, surgery, or injury throws your life out of balance. And, often, these incidents throw your body out of balance as well. For many people, physical therapy is the best way to get your body, and subsequently your life, back on track after a major disruption.

But doing many things after a physical change can feel overwhelming. Your ability to care for yourself changes and it may feel like your ability to control your future changes too. This blog will walk you through getting the most out of your physical therapy, whether that means getting back to work or simply re-learning to take care of your everyday needs.

Work with the Same Physical Therapist at Each Session

While many physical therapists can provide what you need to recover, working with the same professional each session provides consistency. Consistent treatment means you don't ever have to cover old ground and delay the healing process.

Explain What You're Feeling as Specifically as Possible

Before your injury, you probably didn't think much about describing any pain you felt. But during physical therapy, the type of pain you experience and when it occurs can provide important information to aid in your recovery. 

Take note of when you feel the most severe pain. Do you feel worst when you first wake up? Or in the afternoon? Also pay attention to the intensity and type of pain you feel. Try to pin it down on a scale of 1 to 10 and determine whether the pain feels "stabbing," "aching," "throbbing," or another specific descriptor. 

Do Your Assigned Exercises Outside of Sessions

Your physical therapist may push you hard physically during a session and you may feel sore, tired, or even frustrated afterward. But you must perform assigned exercises once you leave your therapist's office. Most likely, you'll have exercises to do throughout the day.

For many patients, these exercise consist primarily of stretches and other low-intensity routines. These exercises play a vital role in your overall healing and should be completed as assigned.

As soon as you begin physical therapy, communicate effectively with your therapist. Ask him or her any questions that you have as they come up. At each session, double check that the measurements being taken and records being kept are consistent. 

Keep these strategies in mind during the process of therapy to ensure that you have the highest possible chance of meeting your recovery goals.