Between school, work, family and friends life can get busy and it can be difficult to keep up with physical therapy. Often, once patients start feeling a little better, they’ll think they are cured and stop attending physical therapy or keeping up with their home exercise program (HEP). This can cause the initial problem to come back and maybe even be worse. Physical therapy is like antibiotics, you have to finish the whole course even if you start feeling better after a few treatments!
1. Follow-through With Appointments. At your initial exam, the therapist will create a unique Plan of Care for you after assessing your injury/pain. It’s important to stick to the duration and frequency of the plan. Even if you feel like you’re better and can do the exercises on your own, the therapist will be able to evaluate changes and modify your routine as needed. Your therapist is a professional and will be able to tell how quickly or slowly you are progressing and adjust accordingly.
2. Consistency, consistency, consistency. If you go to the gym sporadically, you’re not going to get the same results as going consistently; it’s the same with physical therapy. Make sure you keep up with your home exercise program (HEP) and be honest with your therapist on your level of adherence so they are not modifying your program unnecessarily. Non-adherence can lead to flare ups and worse long-term results from therapy (1).
3. Accountability. Keep up with your exercises by setting reminders on your phone or planner. If you can’t make it to a PT appointment, try to reschedule instead of cancelling. Doing little things like this can make it easier to stick to your treatment.
4. Make you HEP Work for You. You don’t need to block out an hour of your day to fit in your exercises, you can do it in 10-15 minute increments throughout your day. Talk to your therapist about your schedule so they can create a HEP that fits it.
5. Set Goals and Track Progress. Goal-setting is something you and your therapist should talk about at your initial evaluation. Setting short-term, attainable goals will give you a sense of accomplishment that will make it easier to follow-through with the duration of the treatment. Keep track of your progress in a small notebook to motivate you when you feel like you’ve hit a slump.
At Capitol Physical Therapy we want you to reach your health and fitness goals. We have same day appointments that you can make on our website or over the phone (202)-794-6821. Additionally, we’ll send you reminders before your appointment and reach out if we haven’t seen you in a while. Your success is our success!