Physical therapy can be demanding at times. Following an injury or difficult illness, a patient has to gather their determination, find motivation and sometimes pure will-to-succeed. The physical therapy might be looked upon as a project called “getting back to myself” or “getting past what limits me”. It is an  journey that requires a person focus their mind and energy.

The therapist’s support, encouragement and professional expertise should matched only by the patient’s decision to be as a good patient as possible.

What does it mean to be a good patient in a physical therapy session?

Ten Terrific Therapy Tips

Here are 10 ways to really get the best out of each physical therapy session:

1. An ‘A Star’ Patient

Be a top ‘student’ while you learning the therapy exercises from the therapist. A good patient listens to what the therapist is saying, does what is asked of them, has patience to listen to the instructions, is enthusiastic and is honest.

2. Note the Notable

Keep a record of when the pain started or how the injury happened. For post-operative care, note why the surgery was needed. Sometimes this important information can give essential clues to the therapist as to which course the therapy should take.

3. Give and Take

There should be a good level of communication between the therapist and the patient. For example if you can’t hear the therapists clearly, ask her to speak up, or talk more slowly. As a patient, you should ask questions so that you are clear where the therapy is heading. The therapist should be allowed to say what she expects of the patient.

4. Back to School

Yup, if the therapist give you homework, you need to do it. Doing the exercises outside of the therapy sessions is usually part of the course of therapy. The repetition of the exercises is what will bring flexibility to joints and overall mobility.

5. Keeping on Track

Performing the exercises out of the therapy sessions also helps to show how much progress you have made. If you didn’t do the exercises how can you see if there was progress? If you did do the exercises and there was not enough progress, it may be a sign that the therapy plan needs to be tweaked.

6. Staying on Target

If a different symptom comes up that bothers you as the patient, it is acceptable to mention it to the therapist. The therapist might choose to treat it while treating the original condition, however, a proper assessment for the new condition is really required and the patient should speak to the relevant party at a different time.

7. Maintain your Commitment

Your therapist will give the number of sessions you need based on your condition. In each session it is important to do those exercises set out for you. Making sure to come to each session will help to get to your goal faster.

8. Rooting for Routine

Don’t let issues become excuses to keep you away from your session. For example, if you are in pain one day and you are tempted to skip the session, it is better to go to the session – the therapist can adjust the exercises based on how you feel that day.

9. A Picture of Success

What are your goals for success? If you have specific goals, share them with the therapist. For example, if your hobby is gardening and you want to be able to bend down and plant seedlings.

10. A Record to Take With You

Ask the therapist for a record of the therapy plan so that you can include it in your medical file. If it is recorded digitally that is even better as there will be less paperwork. Whether it is a hard or a digital copy, there should be a record of how the patient started out, what the course of action was and what the patient could do by the end of the therapy sessions.

During the course of therapy and certainly at the end, you can accept a round of applause for your great achievement. At the same time, be sure to find out if there are any physical therapy exercises that the therapist advises that you continue for the long term.

Physical Therapy Hot air balloons image - because physical therapy is a journey

Physical Therapy – everyone’s journey is different.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash