Healing from a major injury takes time and effort from both the patient and the treating clinician. The healing process begins with your commitment to restoring long-term function and rehabilitating your range of motion, but it also must continue outside of your scheduled physical therapy sessions.
We’ve answered a few questions to offer you guidance for continuing your prescribed exercises, so you have a positive patient outcome.
How often should you perform PT exercises?
The answer to this question isn’t always straightforward. How often you should be doing your prescribed exercises depends on a few factors, which is why we sat down with one of our knowledgeable physical therapists, Patrick O’Rouke, to address this question and give you some guidance.
“Exercises should be completed as prescribed by the treating physical therapist. Based on the therapist’s assessment of the injury, training history, and goals, the therapist will come up with a plan to address impairments and improve your movement and function,” said Patrick.
The severity of the injury and the type of exercise required for your body to properly heal will determine the frequency and intensity. Stretching exercises, for example, are often prescribed daily or multiple times per day.
Patrick tells us that your therapist will “discuss with you how much time you can realistically spend each day working on an exercise program. For some, this may be just ten minutes per day… for others, programs may be comprehensive and last up to an hour.” At your first session, you and your therapist will discuss both long-term and short-term goals that will drive your treatment plan.
Why are PT exercises important outside of your scheduled session?
The activities prescribed to you after your therapy session are intended to target the affected area. You’re only with your physical therapist for a short amount of time each week. Without continued exercise, that’s not enough time to make substantial improvements.
For your physical therapy treatment to be more effective, you’ll need to put in the time and effort to consistently perform your exercises.
According to Patrick O’Rouke, DPT, “The most important part of physical therapy is teaching patients about their body and their movement,” while setting proper expectations of their treatment plan. “Physical therapy is not made to be a quick fix. The profession is built upon determining the root causes of an issue and building programs and pathways to address them.”
What are rest days and why are they needed?
Typically, your PT will prescribe strengthening exercises with at least one day of rest built in. Why is that? Wouldn’t exercising everyday speed up the healing process? Not necessarily.
Rest days are a crucial part of regaining optimal movement and healing. The break allows muscles the chance to recover and rebuild, reduce inflammation, and prevent further injury.
Stay motivated and start healing with Luna
It can be hard to find the motivation to begin a new habit or exercise program and stick with it. Your therapist knows this and is there to help you address any of your concerns.
“Exercise is brand new to a lot of patients when they start a physical therapy program, so just remember that your therapist understands it may be a difficult process.” — Patrick O’Rouke, DPT
Tracking your exercises in the Luna App is a great way to watch your progress and see your growth. If you’re ready to get started with a Luna Therapist and develop a plan that fits into your home life, contact us today.