Physical Therapy FAQs
1) Why is physical therapy important?
Physical therapy will help you safely return to your normal physical activities and improve your quality of life. The body’s normal response to pain and injury is avoidance and compensation, and that injured body area never gets trained/healed back to ‘normal’. This can lead to recurrences of pain over time, and/or cause other pains and injuries to occur in the body due to these compensations, weaknesses, and fears or reinjury. Physical therapy helps address these stiffnesses, weaknesses, and functional limitations. Your physical therapist will help educate you on a path towards recovery, and strategically progress your program to minimize reinjury while maximizing outcomes. The goals are to get you back to function, make you even stronger than you need to be to minimize reinjury, and empower you to understand how to manage your body better in the future.
2) If I get sore after my physical therapy session, what should I do?
Soreness is different than ‘pain’. Some soreness after your physical therapy session should be normal, mostly as we get towards the strengthening and retraining phases of your rehab. However, this soreness should not affect your sleeping, it should not cause you to be limping or feel like you need to compensate or favor that limb, and you should not see a dramatic increase in swelling. This soreness should also not limit your ability to load the tissue again in the next 24-48 hours. Differentiating soreness from pain is not easy to do. If your soreness is severe, let your Physical Therapist know at the following session so they can adjust your program accordingly. Drink plenty of water on days you have physical therapy, this will help to decrease your overall soreness. Ice and elevation techniques can also be used to lesson discomfort.
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?
Your physical therapist will educate you on what the importance of the home program is for you and your recovery. If we are looking to improve mobility, typically this improves over time, and exercises for gaining that need to be performed frequently during the day in order to create the change in mobility. If the goal is to improve endurance, or to train newly gained movement, generally these exercises are performed 1-2x/day. In the strengthening phase of rehab, it may be appropriate to perform the home program every other day, or only 3-4x/week. Your home program will be designed individually for you, your needs, and your abilities. Your physical therapist is highly skilled at knowing how to modify and adapt for your needs, with your goals in mind. If you choose to skip days or are not committed to performing your exercises, your outcomes in physical therapy may not be as dramatic.
5) How long does a typical physical therapy session last?
A typical physical therapy session will last 45 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. At Reflex, our physical therapists are some of the best physical therapists in the industry. All of our therapists are certified manual physical therapists, and they all have extensive years of experience in outpatient physical therapy. They understand the kinetic chain and the influence of one body area on the next, and how issues with this can lead towards chronic dysfunction. The evaluation your physical therapist performs will likely be the most thorough you have ever received, and will get you on a path towards recovery that makes sense for you and your goals. Read more about the Reflex Physical Therapist’s qualifications and education on our team page.
Call 503-719-6783 today to schedule your initial evaluation!