No one likes to be injured. If you are active and play sports, that time you have to spend recovering can be very painful. Whether you find that you need surgery or not, physical therapy can make a bog difference in shortening your recovery time and even preventing a recurrence of the injury. That being said, there are things that you can do to make the experience better.
- Start with a physical therapist you can communicate with. Whether you have hip, knee or back pain, you will have a hard time working with your therapist on your physical pain if you do not communicate. There are a number of kinds of physical therapy and this is not a “one size fits all” kind of thing. When you go in for your first evaluation, see how well you like the person. You do not have to make them your new BFF but you should have some rapport — and you will see a lot of them so liking them may help.
- Know what the physical pain your have is like. There are a lot of different kinds of pain. This may be hard to describe at first but is makes a big difference in how it is treated with therapy. Think for a moment, pain can be stabbing, burning, radiating, dull, sharp, etc. When you injure a joint, you have a different kind of pain than when you pull a muscle. Knowing what each kind of pain means can help you have a better outcome when you are dealing with physical therapy of any kind. If you experience pain between sessions, write it down. You may think you will never forget it but you will. Be safe, keep notes. This may also mean that you have to pay more attention to your pain than you really want to do but this will hep in the long run.
- Get into a consistent routine. You may not love routine but it is the best thing you can do for your body when you are recovering from an injury. That means you want to do the same kind of physical therapy every time you do it. Stay with the same person. Do the same exercises and do them at the same time of day, if you can. This will give your muscles the same recovery time each time you do a session. The more consistent you are, the better your results will be.
- You need to take notes, so does your therapist. Like you, the medical professionals working on your case may think that they will remember what happened at your session. Like you, they will forget. They also have a lot of patients that they are working with. If you want to see how your therapy is actually progressing, and that is your goal — to make progress, make sure they are keeping detailed notes on your sessions. If they do not do this, you could just do lot of the work at home.
- Document your progress yourself. When many people start a diet, they weigh themselves and takes pictures. This is one of the more painful parts of losing weight but it can be helpful. The very same can be said of physical therapy. To truly see how far you have come, you need to see where you started. Take before photos and then after a few weeks, take some after shots. This can also keep you motivated.
- Do not slack off. You may get days off from work when you take them off from your physical therapy routine, it can get you into a bad habit. The more consistent you are, the better your progress will be and the faster you will heal. This is not to say that you should not build healing time into your schedule, that is as important as the exercises, just do not slack off. Your body does not know what say of the week it is.
Many people will balk at doing their physical therapy but if you really want to get better and back to the sports and activities you like, it is really the best thing you can do.