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

By MarieNelson on March 8th, 2019

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

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 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.

There are a number of things you can 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. This includes dressing appropriately and arriving on time (or even better, 15 minutes ahead of your scheduled appointment). Another critical element in being prepared is creating a list of every time that you feel pain in the affected area or notice an activity that is harder than it was pre-injury. The more specific you are, the better.

Here’s an example to help drive this point home:

Let’s say that 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? Or do you find that you need to clutch the back of the couch on your way to the bathroom? Sharing each of these details helps 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 normally play a weekly round of golf, spend your mornings weeding your garden or meet up with friends for a walk two evenings a week. These activities have become an important part of your life so let’s make sure that they’re factored into your list.

If you find yourself making a physical therapy appointment, make sure that you prepare in advance.

Creating a list paints a clear picture for your physical therapist of your physical limitations, how active you are, and what types of activities and sports you participate in. This helps your physical therapist design an individualized treatment plan and to better help you on your road to recovery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *