If you’re dealing with a health condition that is causing pain and discomfort, you’re probably focused on the physical aspects of your health. That makes sense, but your mental and emotional state also plays a significant role in your physical health, so these aspects shouldn’t be ignored. In today’s blog, we explain how physical therapy can help you with your mental health, which in turn can help put your injury in the past.
The Mental Benefits of PT
You may be surprised to learn just how important your mental health is to your physical health. Here’s how the two are intertwined and how physical therapy can ensure both continue to progress.
- Stress Reduction – Physical therapy helps to reduce stress in your life as it pertains to your injury. Injury-related stress comes in many forms depending on the individual and their injury. Some people are stressed out by their injury because they can’t work and provide a steady income, while others can’t help around the house as much as they used to. Physical therapy helps by giving you the peace of mind that you’re actively working towards tangible goals like returning to work. Knowing that you are working towards eliminating the stressors in your life through physical therapy can help to alleviate stress as you journey towards improved health.
- Education – Another way that an injury can negatively affect a person’s mental health is through the fear of the unknown or through misinformation. If you’re dealing with a knee injury, you may not know your long-term prognosis, or you may jump to the wrong conclusion about what this means for your future. Physical therapists are excellent resources of information about your injury, your recovery and your short-term and long-term expectations. We’ve found that the patient who seeks reliable information about their injury and who asks questions to their physical therapist tends to be in a better mental state than those who choose not to learn more about their condition and how to best recover.
- Progress – Another potential pitfall to physical therapy, both physically and mentally, is the lack of progress that a patient sees during their journey to recovery. Your physical therapist can help you manage expectations and point out areas of progress that you may not have been able to see on your own. Sometimes this progression is slow, but a physical therapist can help identify areas of improvement and help set reasonable goals. Seeing improvement and reaching milestones are great ways to improve your mental health as you continue working on your physical health.
- Empowerment – Finally, a lot of patients feel empowered after their first physical therapy session because our therapists have given them the tools to regain independence and take back their life. Feeling empowered and independent can significantly improve your mental health. Our team can help develop a home-care routine that will help you continue to improve physically between in-house sessions.
Physical and mental health are interrelated and cyclical. If one aspect begins to crumble, the other can too, so it’s important to work towards improving your mental and physical health after an injury. It’s much easier to complete your physical therapy is you’re in a good head space, and it’s much easier to have good mental health if you’re putting in the time and effort to become physically healthy again through PT. For more information, or to talk to one of our physical therapists, reach out to 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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