If you have recently sustained an injury or are recovering from orthopedic surgery, your doctor may prescribe physical therapy. PT can be a great tool, as it rebuilds and retrains the body in a controlled environment. As you undergo this form of physical rehabilitation, there are certain steps you can take to make sure the therapy is completely effective. Follow these tips to get the most out of your PT sessions.
- Communicate Clearly: Be completely open with your physical therapist. Tell them all of your symptoms, as well as any instructions your doctor has given you. During your therapy sessions, make sure to let them know if any exercises are hurting your body. They will be able to adjust your regimen accordingly.
- Do Your Exercises: Your physical therapist will likely give you a set of exercises to do at home. While it might be tempting to skip these or only do some of them, be sure to follow the PT’s instructions exactly. You are only pushing off your recovery by avoiding your exercises.
- Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions: Your primary care physician or surgeon will have specific instructions on how to best recover from your injury or surgery.
These could include specific limitations, such as not lifting heavy objects. Be sure to follow these instructions along with your physical therapist’s advice.
- Be Patient: While you may hope to feel better after your first physical therapy appointment, this might not be the case. The first few sessions may even be painful, so remember that physical rehabilitation is a process. Your physical therapist will be able to keep you updated on your exact progress.
- Ease Back In: As you near the end of your physical therapy sessions, remember to follow your therapist’s instructions on how to best resume physical activity and sports. Even if you feel better, do not rush back into how you were exercising before, as this could cause further damage to your body.
Once you are rehabilitated, remember to follow your doctor’s recommended amount of physical activity. Only one-third of adults engage in the recommended amount of weekly physical activity, and less than 5% are active for 30 minutes per day. Moving your body post-recovery will keep your muscles and bones strong, preventing future injury.
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