Importance of Home Exercises During PT
If you’ve sustained an injury of some sort, your inclination may be to rest. And yes, some rest may be called upon for healing.
However, when physical therapy (PT) is the recommendation, then movement is in order. No matter how counterintuitive this might seem.
Many first time patients come to PT and believe the physical therapist will “make them all better.” But in reality, it’s the patient who does most of the work. And the assignment of home exercises during PT means the work continues even after they leave the therapy office.
What To Expect From a PT Session
Generally, a PT session consists of various aspects. In some cases, the physical therapist might first soothe the injured area with heat/cold, ointment, or massage. From there, he or she assists the patient in stretches and movements in a safe manner.
The patient then engages in various exercises designed to strengthen and stabilize weak or injured areas. The therapist or a PT assistant offers cues to the patient in these movements to address proper alignment and effective ways to position the body to optimize these movements.
Finally, the physical therapist will assign a home exercise program. This is a series of movements the patient is to perform daily at home to maintain strength and boost therapeutic gains.
In the mind of a physical therapist, skipping home exercises is akin to not brushing your teeth every day. Though they may feel like chores, both actions are vital to your health and wellbeing.
Why Home Exercises During PT Are So Important
Yeah, yeah. We know. You’re too busy, forgetful, tired, (insert your own adjective here) to be bothered with home exercises. Plus, home exercises may feel strange or uncomfortable. Especially if they’re new and unfamiliar. But they’re incredibly important. By performing home exercises, you will:
1. Get More From Your Sessions
Here’s the deal. Like Santa, your physical therapist knows whether you’ve been naughty or nice when it comes to doing your home exercises. And it only hurts you when you don’t partake.
Because once you have a grasp on the foundational exercises at home, it enables the therapist to introduce more advanced therapeutics during the actual sessions. And this opens the door to improving muscle memory.
Skipping home exercises, on the other hand, could mean a slower and more drawn-out healing.
2. Establish A More Active Lifestyle
Perhaps you’ve never been terribly active. That’s okay. You wouldn’t be the only person in physical therapy to say this.
But many physical therapists say they notice patients who were previously inactive actually become regular fitness enthusiasts after PT. That’s because once they develop the habit of daily exercise and movement, they learn first-hand how beneficial it is.
Many will even request new exercises they can perform at home or at the gym to further their healthy new lifestyle.
3. Experience Less Pain and Regain Function Sooner
On the road to recovery, there are bound to be some bumps. That’s just life.
But these “bumps” are fewer and farther in between for patients who regularly perform their home exercises. It turns out that the commitment to healing and continuing to move forward can stave off potential setbacks.
4. Be Far Less Likely to Experience the Same Injury Again
Even upon finishing a successful round of PT, it’s not entirely unusual for patients to return years or months later with the same injury. This is usually a telltale sign that the patient ceased doing home exercises.
Thus, when the PT sessions stop, the home exercises don’t. Performing these movements after discharge can help to curb the reoccurrence of the condition that brought the patient in in the first place.
5. Adopt Long-Term Positive Habits
We already talked about the possibility of a newly found appreciation for exercise and movement. But because the home exercises take body position and alignment into consideration, actions that once required effort start to become second nature.
For instance, exercises that were initially assigned to improve posture can become so effortless that you’ll be easily sitting up straight and tall without giving it a second thought.
So Make the Most of PT!
Obviously, home exercises during PT (and beyond) are important. So if you’re considering PT for an injury or other condition, don’t cheat yourself.
Contact us today to talk with a physical therapist about your condition, needs, and goals. He or she will tailor sessions around your specific concerns to ensure success.