Physical therapy is an effective way to treat many physical ailments, but how long the process takes and just how effective it ultimately is depends on what you put into it. After all, a physical therapist can't do the work for you the way a doctor can perform surgery while you're asleep. If you need physical therapy, here's how to get the most out of it.
Remember Your Timeline
As you prepare for your first physical therapy appointment, review your injury or surgery timeline so that you can share it with your physical therapist. Just as a doctor would ask you how the issue has developed, a physical therapist will want to know too. This information will help them assess your progress and create an appropriate treatment plan.
The more detail you're able to provide your physical therapist with, the better they'll be able to assess your condition and progress. Even if something seems inconsequential, still mention it. The physical therapist will have the knowledge to determine what's relevant, and sometimes small details that don't appear to be significant actually are.
Determine Your Purpose
As is true with most endeavors in life, you'll get more out of physical therapy if you determine your purpose for doing it. A nebulous recovery aim is less helpful than a well-defined goal. For instance, instead of generally recovering without further definition, you may set a goal of regaining your full range of motion or improving strength to complete a race on a specific date.
What your goal should be is a largely personal matter. Your doctor and physical therapist can provide guidance on what's truly feasible, but it's ultimately you that must decide what the final goal is — because the goal should be something that you actually desire.
When you determine a specific goal, share it with your physical therapist. They'll be able to use the goal both when creating a custom treatment plan for you and when helping you remain motivated throughout the treatment process.
Complete Your Homework
Physical therapy consists of more than just the appointments where you work with your physical therapist. They'll give you homework to do at home, and you need to complete these assignments as prescribed.
Even if the work is difficult, putting in the effort at home will help you realize the progress you want to make. Only doing exercises when at an appointment simply doesn't do enough for your body.