When your doctor prescribes working with a physical therapist after an injury, surgery or illness, your first question is often how quickly you will recover. Although this depends greatly on the condition being treated, there are many things you can do to speed up your recovery and increase the effectiveness of your physical therapy program.
Here are four top tips on reducing your recovery time:
- Understand Your Treatment Plan
The first step to a successful experience is to understand your physical therapy treatment plan. Physical therapists use a variety of treatment options including manual therapy, exercise, ultrasound, hydrotherapy, joint mobilization, massage, ice, and heat.
If you’ve never had physical therapy before, you might be unfamiliar with some of your prescribed treatments. Talk with your therapist to learn the reason for each treatment and what to expect. A complete understanding of your recommended treatment makes you a more confident and prepared patient, increasing your chance of a speedy recovery.
- Decide Where to Have Treatment
Traditionally, most physical therapy takes place at a physical therapy clinic. For many patients, this is a good option, particularly if your treatment plan includes working on special equipment. Physical therapy clinics often have a gym-like environment with treadmills, elliptical trainers, recumbent bicycles, Pilates reformers and other equipment patients usually don’t have at their homes.
Many physical therapists also offer in-home physical therapy. This flexible option is an ideal choice for patients with mobility issues or who prefer treatment in the privacy and comfort of their own home. For example, if your injury prevents you from driving or if you have to go down stairs to travel, in-home therapy is not only more convenient but also safer.
Choosing the right environment for your treatment can make you feel more comfortable with your physical therapy experience, increasing its effectiveness and your recovery.
- Be Consistent
Consistency produces the best results. Your physical therapist will recommend the appropriate number of weekly visits based on your condition, often in conjunction with your doctor. Your therapist might also recommend exercises for you to do at home in between visits.
Skipping treatments or exercises will slow down your recovery. Doing your prescribed exercises more frequently or trying new exercises not recommended by your physical therapist can increase the chance of injury, also slowing down your progress. Maintaining consistency is the best way to ensure a full recovery in the least possible time.
- Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
Recovering from an injury, surgery or illness is a stress on your body. By eating a healthy diet of nutritious foods, drinking plenty of water and getting sufficient sleep (aim for 8 hours), you put your body in the best condition possible for physical therapy.
Reducing emotional stress can also help you recover faster. Meditation and breathing exercises are simple yet effective ways to reduce stress even if you have physical limitations. Participating in activities such as watching your favorite comedies, reading a funny book, listening to relaxing music or coloring are also good choices.
Your healthcare professional can provide nutrition, lifestyle and stress reduction recommendations targeted to your specific condition. For example, eating foods rich in calcium and antioxidants (most fruits and vegetables) and avoiding caffeine helps in speeding up recovery from broken bones.
Working closely with your physical therapist, understanding your treatment plan and following it consistently provide the foundation for a speedy recovery. Eating a nutrient-rich diet and reducing your stress also give your body the strength it needs to successfully complete your physical therapy treatment and heal faster.
Care First Rehab in Cary, NC provides on-location and clinic therapy services including physical, occupational, pediatric, speech, massage, sports injury and more. Contact Pragati Sonker at (919) 460-1921 to schedule your therapy appointment.