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How Can I Get the Most Out of My Physical Therapy?

People want results in the world today, whether it’s a service, product, or even a medical treatment. Why? Probably because there are so many products and services that don’t deliver on their promises. All you have to do is read customer reviews on sites like Google or Yelp, and you’ll see how unhappy many customers are.

Physical therapy is no exception. This is an area where many people have fantastic experiences, and achieve results they never thought possible. Others come away feeling frustrated and skeptical about the value of physical therapy.

There are two main reasons for negative experiences with physical therapy. The first is that the practitioner simply isn’t very professional. Physical therapy is a professional field that requires years of disciplined study and practice — not to mention the experience required to be a truly reputable practitioner.

The second reason for negative or disappointing experiences with physical therapy is more about the patient. Unlike other forms of medical treatment (or consumer products, for that matter), physical therapy is something in which the patient has to actively participate. Therapists and patients form a “team” that works together in order to achieve results. Good things happen when the therapist is highly professional and the patient is actively invested in the process of getting better.

Let’s break down a few of the ways in which you can get the most out of your physical therapy.

1. Research your options carefully

Jumping into physical therapy with the first professional you come across may bring you good results — but it’s more statistically likely that you won’t end up with the most reputable therapist available to you. Careful research, with special attention to client reviews and overall reputability, is a good first step in achieving good results.

2. Communicate openly with your therapist

Lack of clear communication is definitely something that hampers success in physical therapy. If something is painful, or a certain exercise isn’t working for you, it’s best to talk about it. If you’ve been experiencing positive or negative effects as a result of various methods and exercises, it’s good to discuss them with your therapist. Feedback is one of the keys to success in physical therapy and rehabilitation.

3. Do your homework

One of the most common barriers to success with physical therapy is not practicing therapeutic exercises on your own time. Usually, you’ll visit the therapist’s office once or twice a week — but in order to really see results, it’s necessary to follow through on drills and exercises your therapist gives you to do at home.

Is it really that simple?

Physical therapy isn’t always a simple process, and it isn’t always easy. This is particularly true when the patient is recovering from an injury. There are encouraging moments, and there are frustrating moments. But if you’re in the hands of a truly skilled physical therapist, you can count on more encouraging moments than frustrating ones — provided you invest your own energy in the process, and meet your physical therapist half way.

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