How to Get The Most Out of Physical Therapy
By Jordon Whitaker
Therapydia Lake Oswego
Physical therapy is care aimed at helping you to move easier and live better! Each physical therapist is there to tailor care to you. Those who are appropriate for physical therapy are on a spectrum of people with high pain levels to those who have goals to improve in any aspect of their physical fitness. Most people are still learning all the various diagnoses a physical therapist can treat, and I would recommend reaching out or inquiring to find out if physical therapy is a good fit for you. Therapydia offers free 30 minute consultations that would be ideal for that situation.
Here’s 5 tips to know before going to physical therapy for the first time in order to set yourself up for the most success.
Tip 1: Set Goals
Prior to your first appointment, it is important to have a goal in mind. This helps your therapist tailor care to you as well as keep you focused throughout the treatment process. Having a goal motivates you to be consistent with your visits, and coming to all of your visits sets you up for success.
Tip 2: Ask Questions
Collaboration is one of the most important aspects of physical therapy. Your first visit you should come prepared with questions and voice all of your concerns. It is your PT’s job to reassure you as well as educate you on all aspects of your care. Be sure to ask your PT questions such as, what fears you have regarding your condition, what happens if you ignore it, how long until I am better, etc. The more open you and your PT can be at the first visit, the more at ease you will feel moving forward. Be sure to voice any concerns during visits or between sessions as communication will ensure you will get the most out of your visits.
Tip 3: Be Patient
One visit may not be all you need! Rehab is not a linear process and rather has ups and downs or good days and bad days. If you are aware of that from the start, you will not be surprised if you happen to have a flare up. Be sure to communicate this with your PT as every PT should understand how to modify or adjust an activity to what’s best for you that particular session. It often takes roughly 4 to 6 months to heal from most injuries, and knowing this sets the right expectations for your visits. If you get better sooner, then that is ideal and what you and any PT would want.
Tip 4: Mental Participation
If you are fully aware of what increases or decreases your symptoms, you can better relay this information to the physical therapist so they are able to modify activities accordingly. Each appointment is about more than just exercise or stretching. To get the most out of your PT visits, you should be open to learning as much as you can about the rehab process, your body and how to continue to improve independently. Those people who often think they will get better, tend to be the people who do! Those people who think PT can help, it usually does!
Tip 5: Keep moving
In order to be the most successful during and after you are discharged from physical therapy, you must decide to keep moving. It is important that you have an established workout plan to maintain your health. Whether that be the exercise program you and your therapist built together, or any activity that you choose to keep you challenged, it is up to you. Set a schedule. To maintain our health, activity needs to be a habit rather than a choice.
It is important to be an active participant in your rehab. These 5 tips will help you better prepare for your first visit as well as your first overall experience with physical therapy. It’s important to ask questions as most people are still learning all of what PT has to offer. We at Therapydia are able to treat a variety of conditions to get you back to feeling happy and healthy. We have a doctor of physical therapy and we all share the common goal of wanting to help others as well as continuing to learn and grow as clinicians. Be open to creating a lasting relationship with your PT as you may return to them in the future if you have another goal or issue that arises.