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What your PT wants you to know about your PT

Written by Betsy Watson, PT, DPT
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Betsy Graney

If you’re going through physical therapy or considering physical therapy, here are a few tips to get the best outcome. These are general recommendations. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about specific recommendations.

I’m afraid it is going to hurt!

Physical Therapy sometimes has a reputation for being ‘Pain and Torture,’ but that is not what it is all about. The best thing you can do is communicate. If an intervention or assessment is hurting, we want to know about it. Please do not suffer in silence. We are here to help you understand your pain. We will give you an expectation for what you should feel and guide you along. Certain conditions we see are very painful. The goal is never to torture you further. Let us know what you are feeling and we can help you understand it or change it.

Often times we use the ten minute rule. Any lingering pain should resolve and be back to your baseline ten minutes after the intervention. For example, if you have sharp joint pain during an exercise and soreness lingers on, that exercise should be modified to avoid causing further harm. On the other hand, if you have muscles soreness or fatigue the day after strengthening, that is part of the process of improving your strength and it will get better as your strength improves. If the exercise is challenging, do not neglect it or give it up. If it is hard, it’s helping.

I’m not sure why I’m doing this activity.

Knowing the purpose behind an intervention can be helpful in motivating you to participate. Your home exercises or lifestyle modifications are not made to waste your time. Just like you love talking about your passions, our staff loves talking about our passion for the human body and healing. We are happy to explain further if you are curious. We want you to know why you are doing it so you believe it will help you achieve your goals. We try to relate each activity directly to your purpose. Our goals are your goals.

I don’t know how I can do all of these home exercises!

Let your clinician know if you are struggling or are unclear on what you should do outside of the clinic. Compliance with activity modifications and your home exercise program are often the biggest factor in your success. Every activity you do in the clinic does not need to be done every day at home. We will lay out an initial home program at your first visit and progress it as you go along. Some exercises may stay and some may be eliminated or changed. We will help you work the activities into your schedule and troubleshoot any problems you might have. Your exercises should help you live your life, not overtake your life.

I just can’t do it, I’ll never get better.

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Physical Therapy is a great way to jump start your journey to whole body wellness. We put our bodies through a lot each and every day. We give you tools to recover and prevent injuries in the long term. We have great programs for after you graduate from formal PT to keep you on track, also. Check out the academy page (pt-cpr.com/academy) for more details on how you can continue to progress.Positive self talk is a powerful tool. More and more research is supporting physical therapy and physical activity for healing and prevention from injuries and disease. By starting physical therapy, you are talking a big step to help yourself heal and grow. Our clinics have a positive, compassionate and encouraging atmosphere. It will take time and effort, but you can improve and reach those goals. We hope we will surprise you with how good you feel. Check out some of our patient testimonials on our website and Facebook page.

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