The No. 1 Thing You Can Do to Improve Your Physical Therapy Experience

March 22, 2019

Dealing with the pain and limited mobility associated with an injury or illness can be stressful for so many reasons. You might have questions like, “How long will I be sidelined?” and “What do I need to do to get better?” Or maybe you’re worried about how you’ll pick your children up from school, take a walk with your friends or prepare meals for your family.

These are all perfectly normal concerns. Luckily, there are some ways that you can gain control over the situation and ensure that you return to the activities you care most about—especially if physical therapy is part of your plan.

What can you do before your very first appointment—and during physical therapy—to take control of that injury-related stress? First and foremost, it’s important to come prepared for physical therapy. And no, we’re not talking about dressing appropriately and arriving on time That stuff is important, of course, but there’s one thing you can do in the days leading up to your appointment that will set you up for success.

Start a list. What kind of list? Well, every time that you feel pain in the affected area or notice an activity that is harder than it was pre-injury, add it to the list! The more specific you are, the better.

Let’s say you’re recovering from a moderate meniscus tear and you have an appointment with your physical therapist in three days. Take notes on how your knee feels first thing in the morning after you’ve been off your feet. How does your knee react when you stand up from a chair—does it feel unstable? Sharing these details will help your physical therapist understand your limitations beyond the injury printed on your intake form.

Now let’s take that list a step farther and add some details about the activities that you typically participate in on a regular basis. Let’s say that you participate in a recreational sport once a week and meet up with friends for a four-mile walk two nights a week. These activities are an important part of your life so make sure that they’re factored into your list, perhaps in the “what you hope to get out of physical therapy” category.

Painting a clear picture of how active you are—and what types of activities and sports you participate in—can help your physical therapist design an individualized treatment plan and to better help you on your road to recovery.

Unsure about physical therapy? That’s ok! Send us a message or call one of our clinics today to see if physical therapy is right for you.

Article courtesy of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

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