How to Stick to Your Physical Therapy “Homework”
Research shows as low as 35% of physical therapy patients perform their home exercise programs as recommended by their therapist. If you ask me, what you do outside of physical therapy is as important if not more important than what you do in physical therapy. You really can only accomplish so much in 2-3 hours per week. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most of out physical therapy:
Why are you in PT? Do you want to hold and play with grandkids? Run a marathon? Walk your dog? Ride a horse again? Dress and walk independently? Whatever your reason is for showing up for your physical therapy appointment day one, write it down and share it with you PT. Your PT can tailor your treatment to help you reach that goal and keep your focus.
If you’re not doing your home exercise program, please be honest with your PT. They can help to tweak your program to make it more manageable to fit your lifestyle. Maybe the exercises are confusing and they can help you understand how to do them and why. Maybe life is busy and you don’t have 20-30 minutes to spend on exercises and they can help by prioritizing the important exercises. Whatever the reason for you not doing your home program, just be honest so it is a more effective and enjoyable process.
Find a physical therapist you can relate to. We’re all nice here but sometimes you just relate better with some people more than others. And that’s okay! We never take offense if you prefer one of us over another. Just let us know your preferences or tell the front desk when scheduling.
Take the time to strategize with you PT on how to fit the exercises into your daily life. You can balance or do heel raises while brushing your teeth, stretch your shoulder or neck in the shower, etc. When you think about it, they can easily be fit into your normal routine without adding much if any time.