For most patients, physical therapy is a means to an end. They are injured, and by working with a physical therapist and completing a therapy routine, they hope to be back to full health or as close to it as possible when all is said and done. We’ve helped many patients recover after injury or surgery and get back to pre-injury levels of fitness, but just because PT is over doesn’t mean you’re free to do whatever you want with your body. If you really want to thrive and reach peak physical fitness once your physical therapy sessions are in the rearview mirror, you have to keep some tips in mind. We share those tips in today’s blog.
Success After PT
Physical therapy may seem to be the end of the line for your recovery, but that’s not really the case. For starters, if you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, your body is predisposed to that injury, meaning if you go back to doing exactly what you were doing prior to your injury, there’s a decent chance you could end up right back in our clinic dealing with the same injury. Obviously there are some fluke injuries that aren’t likely to occur again, but let’s say you ended up needing physical therapy for a torn hamstring because your athletic training regimen led to muscle imbalance in your lower body. If you jump right back into those same routines, those same muscle imbalances could develop again, and another tear could occur.
Another reason you need to be aware of how you handle yourself after physical therapy is because your body is now used to certain actions and activities. You’ve helped develop muscles and strengthen key structures, so if you just stop those physical activities and exercises all at once, you may notice some regression in your progress. We’re not saying you need to continue your home care exercises indefinitely, but mixing them in once in a while or incorporating similar exercises into a workout routine will go a long way in helping you maintain the progress you’ve made.
Finally, there are two areas of your daily life that you’ll want to focus on throughout your physical therapy sessions and long after the sessions have concluded, and that’s regular exercise and a healthy diet. These two pillars of health are very important to your body as it continues to strengthen long after physical therapy has ended.
Physical Therapy can Help
Exercise is what will keep your body operating at peak fitness levels. Mild to moderate intensity exercise four-to-five times a week will do wonders for your physical fitness, and it will help you build on the gains you’ve made in physical therapy. Similarly, your diet plays an essential role in your overall health. Your body derives key vitamins and nutrients from your diet, and these help fuel key functions like bone production and healthy tissue growth. Moreover, a healthy diet will help you maintain an optimal weight. Excess weight puts added stress on your bones and joints, which can contribute to muscle tears, joint degeneration and stability issues, and this can lead to another round of physical therapy if problems develop.
At the end of the day, we’re proud that you’ve progressed through your physical therapy routine, but you’re not at the finish line yet. Every day you need to make smart choices and challenge your body to keep it healthy. For more tips on how to achieve this, or for personalized recommendations based on your recovery, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.