One of the most common questions we get asked when working with patients is “how long will physical therapy take?” People want to plan their lives and get some sense of normalcy back in their life, which is why so many people are curious about how long PT will take. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all answer we can give to that question, we can provide some general guidelines for how long you may need to continue therapy. We dive deeper in today’s blog.
How Long Will PT Last?
When someone asks us how long their physical therapy will last, our typical answer is “it depends.” But what does it depend on? Some of the factors that influence how long you’ll need to continue physical therapy include:
- Your injury – What you’re recovering from plays a big role in how long physical therapy will last. If you’re working your way back from a high ankle sprain, you may only need to attend a couple of sessions. However, if you’re trying to get back to full health after spine surgery, you may need weekly sessions for a few months. We can provide you with a general outlook after your initial visit.
- Your age – It should come as no surprise that younger people tend to bounce back quicker from injuries and surgeries, so your age will play a role in how long you’ll have to pursue physical therapy. Don’t expect to recover from ACL surgery in six weeks just because your young, but in patients dealing with the same injury, the younger patient typically gets back to full health a little sooner.
- Comorbidities – Your health and your lifestyle are other influences on how long it may take for physical therapy to get you back to full health. A fit and healthy weight individual will likely need fewer sessions to recover from shoulder surgery than a patient the same age who smokes, who is overweight and who has chronic heart failure.
- Your work ethic – Physical therapy isn’t just about showing up to your sessions and going through the motions. You get out what you put in, so you need to give it your all during your sessions. The patient who is committed to working hard during their sessions will need fewer sessions than the patient who doesn’t want to put in their best effort.
- Your goals – A final factor in determining how long physical therapy will take is where you want to be once therapy is over. If you want to get back to playing sports on the collegiate level, you may need more sessions than someone who just wants to get through their day without pain. We’ll sit down with you during your first session and talk about your goals and how we’ll work with you to help you achieve both your short-term and long-term goals with PT.
To start your journey back to full health, pick up the phone and call OrthoRehab Specialists today.
PT of Costa Rican National Soccer Team for 2007 World Cup in Victoria, CAN. Clinical Instructor for University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy Affiliations
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