As much as we love physical therapy and helping our clients feel their best, we at Physical Therapy NOW realize that you’re generally here to see us for one reason–you’re in pain. We get it. Physical therapy can be grueling, frustrating, and sometimes even tedious.
Rest assured, we are here to help you get through all of that because once you do, you’ll quickly realize that the experience was worth it. You’ll feel better, you’ll be better equipped to prevent further injury, and you’ll know that all your hard work paid off. With that in mind, here are 10 ways you can get the most out of each physical therapy session.
1. Dress properly
This is not only for your comfort and safety, but also to get the most out of your time in PT. If you come in wearing heels, work boots, a skirt, a blazer, you’re going to be off to a slow start. You’ll be moving, working hard, and likely sweating, so it’s a good idea to dress appropriately. If you aren’t able to change in time for your session, be sure to pack a gym bag with appropriate exercise attire:
- Comfortable gym shorts, sweatpants, leggings/yoga pants
- T-shirt, sweatshirt, or any other comfortable top
- Bathing suit (if your PT involves water therapy)
2. Arrive a few minutes early
Getting to your session a few minutes early allows you time to check in, change your clothes (if necessary), and prepare. We only have limited time with you to get the work in, so every minute counts. Arriving late only sets us back.
3. Do your independent exercises
In almost every situation, your physical therapist is going to provide you with some exercises to work on at home in between sessions. These are important! By diligently staying on top of these exercises, you’re setting yourself up for success at each future session. These at-home exercises are designed to build upon what we worked on in our sessions, which makes each future session smoother for your recovery. If you opt not to follow the independent exercises, it’s like taking a step forward only to take one (if not two) steps back. You won’t have progressed from the previous sessions, so our in-person sessions will simply be repeating what we did before…and that will only set your progress and recovery back.
4. Communicate with your physical therapist
Physical therapist-client communication is critical. If you don’t tell us you’re in pain, we may not know. And if we don’t know, we could make the pain worse by going through some exercises your body simply may not be ready for. If you’re hurting, tell us! The last thing we want to do is cause further injury. We can adjust or pivot to another exercise or technique to minimize your pain. Conversely, if you feel like you’re improving and some of the exercises are becoming too easy, let us know that too! That could mean you’re ahead of the game (probably because you’re doing your independent exercises!), which means we can adjust the plan and start to push you closer to the finish line.
5. Take notes on how you feel outside of physical therapy
Similar to #4, journal how you’re feeling at home or at work and let us know. If something doesn’t feel right, we’ll take a look and figure out what’s going on so we don’t aggravate or exacerbate any injury or condition. It’s never a bad idea to take notes or journal about your overall health anyway–that way, if you notice anything different or “off”, you can alert your physician and have some facts to fall back on.
We hope the first 5 tips will get you in the right mindset to keep working hard! And now, get ready to dive into Part II for 5 more tips to get the most out of your PT session.