Physical therapy has great potential to help ease pain, increase flexibility, and help you recover from injuries. Each session will be supervised by a professional, and you'll probably find yourself doing exercises at home as well. But physical therapy is about more than just repeating certain stretches and exercises, and to get the most out of your sessions, you should play an active role in communicating with whoever is supervising you, documenting your symptoms and improvement, and asking the right questions.
1. Communicate Actively
The professionals you work with may supervise multiple people at a time, so time for talking is limited, but you should take any and every opportunity to ask questions, express your concerns, request clarification, or ask advice. Remember also that you know your body best, and that if you are ever asked to do something you don't think you're capable of doing, this should be brought up. While the professionals are trained experts, they work best off your feedback.
This is also a good time to talk about the future beyond your recovery, such as what you can do to avoid a repeat injury, what exercises you can do at home to keep yourself in good condition, and even to ask how the process works. Learning exactly how your exercises work and what they do to your body can help you become more invested. Finally, if you feel like something isn't working for you, let your therapist know so they can change tactics. Finally, if you and your therapist simply don't click, let them know; they can possibly help you find someone better suited for your needs.
2. Keep A Journal
A journal can help you along your recovery in a number of ways. First, it will give you a written record of what you've done, how you felt, and how physical therapy is working for you. A journal can let you look back over time to see your progress where you otherwise might not feel any, thus helping keep you motivated. It can also help you keep track of any symptoms or pains you feel that might be worth mentioning to your therapist. Finally, writing about what kind of exercises you do can help you better remember what you're supposed to do at home.
Be detailed in your journals, but don't worry about being clinical. Cover everything from progress on your recovery to how you feel physically and emotionally as you continue; if you start feeling depressed or discouraged, it's worth bringing this up to your therapist as well. On top of all this, keeping a journal has other benefits to recovery, like reducing stress, helping you better verbalize your thoughts, and helping you analyze issues more objectively.
3. Set Long-Term Goals
When you're in physical therapy, your primary goal is probably to "get better" -- whatever that might entail. But setting a long-term goal can have multiple benefits. First, it can help provide motivation by giving you something more fun and hopeful to look forward to. Second, it can also help affect the treatment you're receiving. For example, if you tell your therapist that you want to be able to go running or horseback riding, your therapist will take that into account as a measure of success rather than simply helping relieve your pain or discomfort.
For more information, contact a company like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.