Many people believe that physical therapy is only for those who are recovering from surgery, had an accident, or something that only athletes do. And while physical therapy can certainly help in those situations, it offers benefits any time someone is experiencing pain, weakness or mobility concerns.
Get the most out of physical therapy with these seven tips!
- Know your history. At the first appointment, a physical therapist (PT) will do an examination and interview to learn when the pain started, or in the case of surgery, what lead to the surgery. It is helpful when patients can say when their pain began since certain conditions are more easily identified if an initial pain-point or timeline is offered.
- Set goals. Think about your goals for treatment – is it to return to a particular sport or activity, or the ability to walk the dog without pain? The goals will help determine the course of treatment with your physical therapist.
- Commit to appointments. The number of appointments will vary depending on how complex or severe the injuries or surgeries are. A minor injury may only require two or three visits, while more severe issues may involve 20 or more visits over several months. How quickly patients progress will depend on whether they show up and do the work.
- Do the homework. When it comes to physical therapy, patients do have to do some work outside of the visit. The exercises the PT recommends are to help improve muscle strength and joint mobility and often require repetition and consistency over time to see results. If patients don’t follow the plan outside of their appointments, it’s hard to say why there is no symptom improvement, and extremely difficult to know how to adjust a treatment plan.
- Speak up. Some people may think pain is normal and not mention it to their PT. But here’s the thing: even the smallest details can help solve the largest problem. Ask questions because PTs want to be sure a patient’s concerns are addressed and everyone is comfortable with the plan moving forward.
- Stick to one thing at a time. It’s common for patients to come in for one problem and then mention another problem that is bothering them. While PTs can treat multiple areas during a single visit, a new issue is going to need its own evaluation. It’s also possible it will need to be pre-approved through insurance so the PT will often recommend scheduling a separate time to evaluate what else might be going on.
- Keep up the good work. The biggest risk of new injury is a previous injury. Once treatment has concluded, PTs can recommend how to prevent injuries in the future through things like exercises, adjusting equipment like a bicycle set up and more.
Learn more about our Brielle, NJ physical therapy services today!