So you finally finished physical therapy!
Congratulations! You are now well on your way back towards a healthy, active, pain-free lifestyle.
But you aren’t out of the woods quite yet.
Most people end up seeing a physical therapist due to an injury, surgery, or because of little injuries or trauma that have gotten worse over the years. Whether you were doing too much exercise, not enough exercise, exercising with poor form, or even just faulty everyday movements, it ended up causing enough pain or discomfort that you went to your trusted physical therapist to get the issues resolved. Now that the issues are resolved, the last thing you want to do is re-injure or aggravate an injury by resorting back to old habits.
Here are the best 3 ways that you can avoid returning to your physical therapist’s office:
1) Continue to Exercise with Good Form
If you have some extra hundred dollar bills lying around and can afford a personal trainer, great! They are well worth the investment and will help you perfect your form, correct muscle imbalances, and improve strength.
However, most of us just don’t have that kind of spare cash. Take the time to research good form for your exercises and remember what your physical therapist instructed. Follow the timeline exactly and don’t do certain exercises before the recommended date. Sometimes more is less but don’t get caught doing nothing. Your muscles will atrophy, and you’ll likely end up in a worse place than you were before.
Stretching is an often-overlooked aspect of health and wellness. Nutrition and exercise are often put upon a pedestal and stretching is only an afterthought.
Yet there are many benefits to stretching, including: increased flexibility, improved posture, increased nutrient absorption, and injury prevention (which is forgotten all too often).
Injury prevention may be the most important aspect of stretching—especially for someone who just finished physical therapy. According to UC Davis, stretching helps prevent injury because when your muscles are warm and stretched, your movements become easier and more fluid—thus preventing injury.
When you don’t stretch, your muscles become tight and there is an increased chance that you’ll tear or pull a muscle. But it will also cause muscle imbalances that will take you straight back to your physical therapist.
3) Practice What Your Physical Therapist Taught You
By far the most important thing you can do post-physical therapy is just to practice what your physical therapist taught you. During your visits, he or she should have given you different exercises and stretches to practice at home and then shown you how to execute these movements correctly.
Do them! You will recover faster and more completely by doing the “homework” your physical therapist has assigned you. Follow the timeline that your physical therapist has laid out for you and don’t push yourself too hard too soon.
Do not take the easy route and get lazy thinking you’ll be fine now that your sessions are over. You’ll undoubtedly regret it in the long run. Make sure you schedule time to complete your exercises, stretch, and follow the exact recovery timeline that your physical therapist gave you.
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.