If you are like millions of Americans who is recovering from surgery or a serious illness, suffering from problems like arthritis or back pain, or simply dealing with the effects of old age, your doctor has likely recommended that you use physical therapy exercises to help heal or manage your condition. Fortunately, physical therapy programs are more popular than ever and can easily be found at local hospitals, clinics and even urgent care centers. However, there are a number of things every patient should know in order to avoid strain, pain and injury. Keep these tips in mind while you conduct your physical therapy exercises in and out of the office.
Be Prepared to Push Yourself
If you want to see results, you will need to challenge yourself, especially when it comes to strength training. However, physical therapists are often cautious about adding heavier weights or tougher exercises because they don’t want to make patients physically or emotionally uncomfortable. If you think you are ready for a little more effort, say something.
Don’t Rely on Your Machines
Implements like continuous passive motion machine are commonly given to patients who have had knee replacements. The device is thought to control pain and speed recovery, but studies show it may not be effective. Even more concerning is the fact that many patients skip their physical therapy exercises because they think the machine takes care of that. This makes people miss out on an important opportunity to restore motion, prevent blood clots, shorten hospital stays and more, so make sure you make time for your prescribed activities.
Expect Some Poking and Proding
Physical therapists will frequently use mobilization, manipulation and other techniques to relax muscles, restore motion and prevent pain. These methods, unfortunately, involve stretching and holding joints in ways you can’t move naturally, rhythmically pushing on areas, or applying quick thrusts to various body parts with the hands. While this might be somewhat annoying, let your therapists perform these activities: you will thank them when you begin to see results or don’t feel pain following an appointment.
The injuries and conditions that lead to physical therapy are often extremely challenging. In the face of such hardship, physical therapy exercises can often feel like just another hurdle. However, by using the techniques you are prescribed, you can expect to experience less pain, a greater range of movement, and better health. Get the most out of your physical therapy by following the tips above. More on this.