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Making the Most of Physical Therapy
By Clifford Milowicki, MSPT, CGFI

Learning to walk again was made possible for this former HealthSouth patient who lost his left leg and now relies on a prosthesis. Therapists at HealthSouth realize the importance of returning to normal daily living activities.  By partnering to find the right treatment plan, patients have the ability to reach their maximum potential.

Wondering how to make physical therapy (PT) rehabilitation as effective as possible? After any injury or surgery, PT is a must for a full recovery. Your therapist will help you retrain and re-strengthen your muscles so that you regain full or close to full use again. These tips will help you get the most out of your time in therapy:

1. First, dress the part. You are going to be stretching, moving, and working during your sessions, so wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing and good shoes. Be sure that your therapist can access your injured area.

2. Next, make sure you and your therapist have clearly defined goals for your physical therapy rehabilitation. Do you need your pain to be gone, or are you simply looking to get back to work? Do you need to be able to play sports again, or are your daily activities a little tamer? The answers to these questions will enable your therapist to plan the best possible treatment protocol to meet your needs.

3. Give 100 percent at every session. This is the best possible way to rehabilitate those muscles and ligaments that were injured. However, if something you are doing causes pain, be careful to explain that pain to your therapist. Some pains are fine and are part of the healing process, but others are not. You do not want to injure yourself further, so be open and honest about any pain you experience.

4. Your therapist will give you exercises to do at home. Follow these prescribed exercises to a "t," and ask any questions you have when you go to your sessions. The more religiously you do your exercises, the faster you will recover. Of course, if anything is causing a tremendous amount of pain, stop doing that particular exercise until you see your therapist.

Remember, when it comes to physical therapy rehabilitation, you will get as much out of the process as you are willing to put in – the harder you work, the faster you will get better. If you want to be pain free and back to your normal activities, give yourself completely and totally to your sessions.

If you would like to learn more or schedule outpatient physical therapy, call HealthSouth at 1-877-937-7342.

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