The current stalemate in healing is that we are all so busy, and we take very little time to care for ourselves over others. In physical therapy, we hope everyone that walks through our doors will walk out feeling amazing and worlds better at each session. This, unfortunately, is not the the case for most. Healing takes time, intention, and a little self-love.
The way I describe it to patients is that our sessions in-clinic help facilitate and speed up the healing process, but the exercises prescribed by the therapist outside of the clinic are the glue that will hold them together. Strength enforces stability of the body and it will help maintain long term gains by supporting your body in a more balanced position or state.
Can someone heal up without doing anything outside of their sessions? Sure. We do have some that improve nicely. These are more likely those that had experienced a recent acute injury or accident and have come to us quickly before muscle imbalances have occurred (weakness and favoring of certain muscles that changes the pull on our joints). If your therapist has found an imbalance in your muscles, it is vital to do your home program and work outside of therapy as people’s pain sometimes heals before the muscle balance is fully corrected. What you are left with is a ticking time bomb waiting for the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Then, BOOM! Your symptoms return. Open communication with your therapist is important to understand what you need to do to get better.
We want you to have the best results when you come and see us, to recover as quickly as possible. Like I had previously said, everyone is busy and committing two to three days a week to physical therapy, even for 30 minute sessions, can be taxing on our schedules. Your commitment to yourself can help minimize your overall time in therapy!
Are you finding it impossible to fit your exercises in throughout the day? Tell your therapist! There may be another way to do the exercises they had given you. I call them “lazy exercises”, but only because they are hidden into our daily activities. Stretching in a seated position while doing work, using the ceiling of the car to stretch the arm overhead while at stop lights (not while the car is moving!), and many more we can figure out how to make it work into your lifestyle.
No matter how quickly you heal, I recommend making an exercise folder and storing it somewhere. If ever down the road, you start to feel some discomfort again, pull out that folder and gently start some of the stretches and exercises to see if it can reverse the process and save you a trip to our office.
Take the time for you. You deserve it!