If you’re recovering after an injury or surgery, odds are you’ll be referred to physical therapy for weeks or months of sessions in order to make the fullest recovery. These sessions can target specific areas of your body so that the injury site is both strengthened and protected through exercise, but it’s unlikely that you’ll see your physical therapist more than once or twice a week. So what should you be doing between sessions in order to keep your recovery on track when you’re not in the clinic? In today’s blog, we share some tips for improving your recovery between physical therapy sessions.
Rehab Progression Between PT Visits
You want to keep your rehab on track and get back to normal activities as soon as possible, but you don’t see your PT again for another couple of days. What can you do in the meantime to keep your rehab moving in the right direction? Here’s a look at some of the ways to keep making progress, but remember that this is just general advice. For individualized tips based on your specific strengths and weaknesses, set up a plan with your treating therapist. With that said, here are some things you can do between visits.
- Your Home-Based Exercises – In most instances, your physical therapist will give you some home-based exercises or daily PT tasks to complete. Just like when you were back in school, make sure you do your homework. They didn’t give you these exercise plans just for you to set them on the counter at home, never to be referenced. Do your home-based exercises as scheduled between visits to help progress your rehab.
- Mind Your Diet – You don’t need to cut calories while you’re recovering, but you should pay a little more attention to your diet. For starters, make sure you’re getting a range of healthy options that are full of vitamins and nutrients that help with the tissue repair process. Also, healthy choices will give you the energy you need to do your daily exercises. If you consume a lot of empty calories, especially if your injury or surgery has made you less active, it can be a recipe for weight gain, and that can put additional stress on your body.
- Stay Hydrated – Similarly, make sure you are drinking a lot of water each day between sessions. When you’re hydrated, blood can flow more easily around your body, and that means healthy blood is moving to and from the injury site, helping with repairs. Keep a water bottle close and try to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day while you recover.
- Stay Active – Find ways to stay upright and active during your recovery. We know this won’t always be easy depending on what type of injury or surgery you’re dealing with, but activity and movement helps to avoid muscle stagnation and weakness. It also helps with blood flow and can help to take your mind off the rehab process, which can sometimes be mentally draining.
- Journal – Your PT is going to ask you some questions before each session, and many people find it easier to answer these questions if they keep a rehab journal. Write down how you feel each day on a scale of 1-10, document new pain or symptoms, share what went well and what didn’t and write down some new goals. This will make it easier for you and your therapist to chart a course for you to hit your milestones in a timely manner. This is also a great place to write down any questions that come up that you want to ask your PT next time you see them.
- Stick Within Your Limits – Finally, one of the best things you can do between sessions is to simply adhere to the restrictions put in place by your PT. If they say you’re not cleared to drive or perform certain activities, don’t go outside these recommendations, as this can lead to a major setback. Sometimes all you have to do is avoid doing certain physical activities between sessions!
For more tips on how you can make the most of your time between PT sessions, or to talk to a team about setting up a rehabilitation plan, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.
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