People can experience pain and injuries that cause movement problems, and this is where physical therapy comes in. Physical therapy can also help reduce symptoms of chronic conditions and diseases. Basically, if it can’t fix a problem, it will prevent it from getting worse. If you need physical therapy, you might be interested to know how you can make this process as easy and as effective as it can be. Let these ways to get the best out of physical therapy help you with that and, hopefully, your problems will disappear or at least become less troublesome.
1. Choose the right physical therapist for you and ask questions
When you’re choosing a doctor you want to find the one that has experience with people with your condition and the condition itself. The same thing applies when choosing a physical therapist. One of the most important ways to get the best out of physical therapy is to choose the right therapists for you. Don’t shy away from asking questions and find out about the therapist’s background, what they have in plan for you, how long the treatment is going to last, and what kind of equipment you’ll be needing. Finding the right therapist is very important because you need to feel comfortable talking to them during the sessions.
2. Prepare the meds and documentation
Before going to your first appointment make sure to prepare a list of the meds you’ve been taking and any MRIs or X-rays. You can even make notes about your symptoms which will help your therapists identify the problem and design the right treatment plan. Write down when the issues have started and which movements are painful. Bring all this with you to the first appointment, and you’ll start the process of physical therapy in the best possible way.
3. Always wear comfortable shoes and clothes
You should dress in comfortable clothes and put on comfortable shoes even for the first visit to the physical therapist. They might move the troubling joint to test movement or ask to see you walk or make other movements. If they tell you about the exercises you’ll need to do at home during your first visit, they’ll want to see you do them right away to make sure that they’re the right exercises for you. This is why you should always wear something comfortable when visiting a therapist, and it’s one of the important ways to get the best out of physical therapy.
4. Set achievable goals and celebrate every progress
You need to think about what you want to do after physical therapy. Is the goal to get out of bed more easily or to play tennis again? Make sure to set achievable goals and let your therapist know about them. It will be easier for your therapist to tailor your treatments once they have the goal in mind. Don’t forget about short-term goals because they’re an important part of your recovery, and so is celebrating each progress you make. Even if it’s just one step towards your goal it deserves to be celebrated.
5. Exercise at home and take notes but don’t overdo it
Your rehab doesn’t stop when you leave the clinic, and your therapist will probably give you some exercises that you can do at home. One of the most important ways to get the best of physical therapy is to do your homework. Only part of the benefits of physical therapy comes from what you do at the clinic, and the rest comes from your own efforts. Make sure to follow the instructions though, because you’re not going to heal sooner if you overdo it. In fact, you might lose the progress you’ve already made, so just listen to your therapist’s instructions. Take notes about how you’ve been feeling during home exercises and let your therapist know if you’ve been experiencing any difficulties.
6. Let your therapist know when you’re in pain and ask about the possible treatments
One of the ways to get the best out of physical therapy is to let your therapist know whenever you’re experiencing any discomfort. Ask them about the possible treatments, and make sure to ask whether you should use an ice pack or a heating pad. Heat can improve the range of motion, increase blood flow and relax sore muscles. Cold helps control swelling and inflammation by slowing your circulation. Both a heating pad and an ice pack can help ease the pain, but keep in mind that this is only a temporary solution. It’s not going to solve your problems, it’s just going to help you deal with the pain.
Whatever you do, the important thing is that you don’t give up and keep making small steps towards your goals!
You got this!