Walking into the physical therapy room can be daunting. You’re recovering from an injury and about to work the most tender part of your body. No one wants to go through physical therapy, but it’s the fastest route to a healthy life. Here are some tips to bring into every physical therapy session.
Follow your regimen to a T
When it comes to physical therapy and exercise, shortcuts take longer. Physical therapists strive to lead you back to health and normal movement but need 100 percent effort from their patients. This includes giving your full effort during physical therapy and also following the at-home regimes as close as possible. Even if the exercises seem tedious and painful, they’re only temporary and far better than a preventable nagging, chronic injury.
Yes, following your regimen to a T includes your diet. A well-balanced diet helps your muscles and body recover. Faster recovery means less soreness, maximizes progress and pulls you toward the finish line faster than a poor diet. Most physical therapy regimes come with a nutrition plan, make sure you follow this as close as possible. Like physical therapy, it’s only temporary and will only last as long as the therapy itself.
Don’t overdo it
Some people fall short in their therapy, but others do too much. While doing extra when it comes to is usually beneficial, this is not the case for physical therapy. Remember, you’re in physical therapy because of an injury or surgery and are not 100 percent. Doing too much can lead to an overuse injury or even re-injury. We understand that you want to get back to healthy as fast as possible, but this still requires adequate rest as well.
Ask therapists about your progress, form, at home exercises or anything that you think will benefit your therapy session. This is your chance to ask an expert questions about your own body. Physical therapists want to see you healthy again, asking open and honest questions will help you get the most out of your sessions.
Understand your diagnosis
While you might know a friend who experienced a similar injury, people vary greatly. From recovery to the injury itself, you will need specific therapy to address your individual injury. If you are recovering from surgery, understand what needs to be repaired or strengthened, and the same goes for an injury. Understanding your injury will help you know why you’re doing these specific exercises and will help you understand what your therapist expects from you.
Be 100 completely transparent with your physical therapist. Sometimes powering through the pain is a bad idea. Maybe you are doing the exercise wrong or have a different ailment inflicting pain. Let them know if your pain is inflicting, sharp, mild, chronic, etc. Your therapist knows the difference between good and bad pain and can help you adjust when needed. Let them know when you’re uncomfortable or if you have an injury history that could affect your therapy.
Use a journal when at home to track your own exercise progress and any pain you experience. This will help you communicate your at-home sessions with your therapists and how the pain made you feel at the time.
Listen to your physical therapist
Like the gym bros who know everything except how to fix their biceps tendonitis, make sure you only listen to the experts when it comes to your physical therapy. Many people have been through physical therapy and many have likely had a similar injury, but this doesn’t make them experts. Even if you have the same injury as a friend, your injury, physical therapy and recovery are unique to your situation. Listen to what your physical therapist recommends and follow it to a T. The better you follow along with the plan, the sooner you will recover.