Although the word “physical” may be in the name “physical therapist,” we take care of much more than just your physical health. After an injury or in the wake of surgery, there can be a number of mental and emotional aspects at play that, if left unchecked, can actually negatively affect your physical outcomes. Conversely, making sure these mental and emotional aspects are accounted for can help people experience better physical outcomes with their rehabilitation.
With that in mind, we want to take a closer look at three of the most common emotions that clients experience that can negatively affect their recovery, and how we work to help set these fears aside.
Managing The Emotions That Come With An Injury Or Surgery
If you’re dealing with any of these emotions or feelings, make sure to let your physical therapist know. We can get a better understanding of your physical challenges by watching you perform some movements and exercises, but it’s harder for us to figure out what’s going on inside your head, and we can’t help if we don’t know that you’re dealing with certain feelings. Here’s a look at three common emotions that injured patients often experience, and how we can help you overcome them.
- Anxiety/Worry – Anxiety is likely the most common emotion that injured patients experience as they work to recover. You may be worried about an upcoming operation, or worried that a procedure or rehabilitation plan is going to be painful. You may also be worried that you’ll suffer a setback and need to do everything all over again. Our goal as physical therapists is to help ease these fears and explain how physical therapy or other treatments are designed to help you get back to full health and limit pain and discomfort throughout the process. Also, by working with a physical therapist who understands your limitations and goals, we can design a PT plan that carefully builds up your strength without overloading you with stress and putting you at risk for a setback. Whatever is causing you to worry, bring up your concerns to your care team.
- Self Doubt – Similar to anxiety and worry are feelings of self doubt. Many athletes have feelings of doubt cross their mind in the wake of an injury. They wonder if they’ll ever be able to return to athletic competition at the same level as they were prior to their injury, or they’ll start to doubt their own self worth if they can’t help their teammates or compete at the highest level. Your PT can help you understand that injuries are part of athletics and that we’ll do everything in our power to help you return to sport as quickly as possible and at full strength. Many athletes come back from an injury stronger than they were prior to their injury so long as they are committed to a physical therapy routine and wait until they are cleared to return to activity. We can help you get back to the athletics you love at the same level or stronger than prior to your injury.
- Frustration – Finally, many patients are frustrated by their injury or their current physical limitations. We completely understand your frustrations, but you can’t let these emotions steer you off the path of wellness. You may be frustrated that you can’t work or drive for a period of time, but if you try to jump back into certain activities before you’re ready, you can suffer an aggravation and need more care or even another surgery. We can help you find healthy outlets for these frustrations so that they are fewer and shorter in frequency and duration. Mindfulness techniques like deep breathing and yoga can help you gain control over your frustration and keep it from complicating matters.
It’s completely normal to experience some or all of these emotions, but that doesn’t mean they should go unchecked. You need to manage these emotions in a healthy manner, otherwise it can cause problems for your physical recovery. For more information, or for help with your recovery after an injury or surgery, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.
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