Why Physical Therapy Patients Need to Perform Home Exercises

Physical therapy and home exercise are two parts of a whole. Skipping home exercise provides the same limited advantage as dieting only one day each week, taking only a fraction of prescribed antibiotics or removing a cast before a broken bone heals completely. If you neglect home exercises, you do not receive maximum benefits from physical therapy.

Why Home Exercise Is Important During Physical Therapy

Physical therapy aims to restore or improve range of motion, muscle strength or physical condition after a reduction in the body’s ability to move; it also proves valuable as a pain management technique. In very general terms, physical therapy retrains the body to move as before or to the best of its current ability after an illness, accident or injury. This retraining most often takes place over an extended period.

As with any other long-term medical treatment, this therapy rarely works with office appointments alone. A physical therapist (PT) incorporates a home exercise program for patients to follow. The home exercise program almost surpasses the office appointments in importance – appointments are the guide, but home exercise is the work. It is relevant enough to be a priority even in http://www.survivalstrategies.com physical therapy marketing campaigns.

Exercising at home conditions the body between PT visits. In addition, it also limbers and strengthens the body. If a person relies only on visits to a PT and does not perform home exercise, the body will not build improved function or retain muscle memory between visits. The reason the body accomplishes increased levels of mobility at each therapy appointment comes from the exercises performed between the visits.

Main Reasons for Avoiding Home Exercises

People escape home exercises for a myriad of reasons that boil down to three basic causes: increased pain or discomfort, lack of motivation or unhappiness. If you focus on the reduced quality of living that stems from not performing your exercises, you can bypass the avoidance.

Pain or Discomfort – while some pain and discomfort might be expected, increased or unexpected levels will keep people from exercising. Your PT should tell you what sensations to expect during exercise, but if the pain exceeds expectations – stop. In physical therapy, pain tells your body that you may be causing further damage or complications.

Lack of Motivation – emotionally, many people feel alone during physical therapy. This isolated feeling makes it difficult to find the motivation to perform exercises. If this is you, talk to your family and friends and ask them to nudge you when needed; talk to your doctor or PT to ask about motivational techniques. Do not feel as though you are lazy – lacking motivation is a common feeling that is certainly not laziness.
Unhappiness – sadness and frustration are natural occurrences when a person experiences loss of movement, constant pain, or other reduced body function. If these stop you from improving your physical condition, it is necessary to communicate this to your doctor and your PT. They have the experience to help you break the cycle of negative emotions holding back progress and help you maintain a positive focus.

To successfully complete home exercises, keep a journal of how you feel during each exercise, how difficult each is to perform, and why you may not have exercised. This will give your PT the best idea of how to encourage you or how they can adapt your home exercise program to benefit you best.