Making The Most Of Physical Therapy

Youre in pain from an injury, have a chronic muscle or bone condition, or youve gotten a joint replacement, and now your doctor recommends a series of physical therapy sessions. You might wonder whether the time and effort (not to mention money if insurance wont cover it) is worth it. The answer is yes.

But its as much up to you as it is your physical therapist to make your experience as good as it can be.Heres what you can do:

Keep an upbeat attitude that this going to work. You will need to go into it as an optimist and believe that you can start to finally get on the road to recovery. Stop thinking that you'll never start to feel better and the pain will never go away.

Wear comfy, loose-fitting clothing. Exercise wear such as sweats, t-shirts, and shorts (not snug spandex outfits) are best, but not necessary. Your therapist will need access to the area of your injury.

Talk about what you want to get out of therapy. Do you want your pain to go away? To return to work? To get back to your normal activities? To prevent injury or improve sports performance? Discuss your goals in detail with your therapist so youll get the treatment thats appropriate for you. Have a discussion during your first meeting. At that time, the therapist will also take your health history, observe your posture and movement, and evaluate problem areas. Keep your appointments and arrive on time so youll have time for the full treatment.

Answer honestly when your physical therapist asks about the level and area of pain. The types of movements and exercises offered will be based on the information your share about your pain threshold. Opt for the same therapist so you can develop a one-on-one relationship. One of the biggest factors in being successful in a rehabilitation program is related to having your own physical therapist. This is because modifying and progressing your treatment program during each treatment session insures the best results. When you get to know your therapist and your therapist understands your needs and goals, you get better faster. High?quality physical therapy clinics are committed to this type of personalized, one?on?one treatment. Follow through with any prescribed home exercise programs. Just working on the exercises in the therapist's office for an hour every week is not going to have you on the quick path to recovery. The exercises a physical therapist gives you to work on at home are your "medicine". When you go back to your next appointment, you'll be able to build upon what you have been doing. Report any significant changes in symptoms, medications, and function to your therapist.Robin Westen is ThirdAges medical reporter. Check for her daily updates.See what others have to say about this story or leave a comment of your own.
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