Physical Therapy FAQs
1) Why is physical therapy important?
Physical therapy will address your quality of life and help you return to your normal activity level more quickly after living with pain or an injury. Your Physical Therapist will address your decreased balance, strength, muscle recruitment, range-of-motion, fluidity of movement, ability to walk or run normally, pain, scar tissue development, and numerous other deficits through specific exercise and manual therapy interventions tailored to your body and ailment.
2) If I get sore after my physical therapy session, what should I do?
Some soreness after your physical therapy session is common since you are probably using muscles and performing movements your body is not used to. You can use ice and elevation techniques to decrease swelling. Drink plenty of water on days you have physical therapy, this will also help to decrease your overall soreness. This should subside within 2-3 days, however, if your soreness is severe let your Physical Therapist know at the following session so they can adjust your program accordingly.
3) How long will it take for me to get better, or be pain free?
This question’s answer varies from person to person. It depends on how long you’ve experienced your symptoms or pain, how severe your osteoarthritis is, what your current activity level is, your age, and your commitment to performing your at-home exercise program. You may notice a big difference in just a few physical therapy sessions, or you may need to spend some time developing strength and endurance before noticing dramatic changes.
4) How often should I perform my physical therapy exercises at home?
Most home exercise programs will not exceed 10-15 minutes to perform and should be completed once or twice a day. If you choose to skip days or are not committed to performing your exercises, understand that your outcomes in physical therapy may not be as dramatic. It is your Physical Therapist’s job to empower you and teach you how to manage your pain effectively on your own, so you will no longer require physical therapy in the future for the same issues.
5) How long does a typical physical therapy session last?
A typical physical therapy session will last 45-60 minutes. You may want to plan to arrive 10-15 minutes earlier than your scheduled appointment time, to account for bad traffic, change into physical therapy attire, or complete a warm-up.
6) Will my physical therapy treatment be painful?
Your Physical Therapy session should not be painful. There are some manual therapy techniques that are not comfortable, but your therapist should warn you in advance and go over possible side-effects such as soreness or bruising. You may experience some discomfort with the exercises, but this is just your muscles telling you they are working. You should never leave physical therapy thinking it was altogether unpleasant or painful. Many exercises and manual therapy interventions will feel good and are designed to decrease your pain.
7) How much training does my Physical Therapist have?
Physical Therapists are required to obtain their doctorate degrees of physical therapy to practice. This is part of the American Physical Therapy Associations vision for the growth of Physical Therapy practice. “By 2020, physical therapy will be provided by physical therapists who are doctors of physical therapy, recognized by consumers and other health care professionals as the practitioners of choice to whom consumers have direct access for the diagnosis of, interventions for, and prevention of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities related to movement, function, and health.” Recent graduating Physical Therapists are also required to complete a residency program and thesis.
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