Some clients only need a couple of physical therapy sessions in order to return to full health, while others need months of targeted rehab before they regain as much physical function as possible, but one constant between clients is that they all eventually reach the end of their program. PT isn’t usually designed to go on in perpetuity, but before we see a client for the last time, we always make sure they understand how they can continue building on their progress or avoid a setback in the future. We do that by explaining what life after a PT program should look like, and we dive into those details in today’s blog.
What’s Life Like After Physical Therapy?
Congrats! You’ve completed your in-clinic physical therapy program! So while you may not need to come back into the clinic, you shouldn’t just forget the exercises and habits you’ve instilled along the way. Here are some tips for staying physically strong and injury-free after you’ve completed your PT program:
- Keep Doing Your Home Exercises – Odds are you were given some home exercises to complete either during the course of your PT or at the end of your in-person sessions. Make sure you keep doing these exercises! This will only help to make the area stronger and better able to handle the stress you throw at it, and it will help reinforce the gains you’ve made. You won’t need to do them every day, but try to follow through with these exercises a couple of times a week.
- Stay Active – Exercise and activity is a great way for your previously injured area and your whole body to get healthier. Movement promotes healthy circulation, which ensures that structures get the nutrients and oxygenated blood they need to function optimally. Don’t shift to a sedentary lifestyle in hopes that it will protect your body, because inactivity leads to muscle atrophy and joint destabilization. Stay active, and your body will be stronger because of it.
- Maintain An Ideal Weight – If you are overweight or obese, your body and joints will inherently be handling more stress, and this can put you at an increased risk for injury. By working to shed even just a few pounds or by striving to maintain an ideal body weight, you’ll make it easier on your body to handle pressure from normal movements like walking or running. It can also help to slow natural joint degeneration.
- Take Things Slow – Even though you’re done meeting with your physical therapist, don’t just assume you’re automatically back to a pre-injury level of fitness or conditioning. If you were running five miles before your injury, don’t just jump back in with a five mile run once PT is complete. Take things slow and ease back into high-intensity exercise or athletics, otherwise you may need to come back to the clinic.
- Lean On Your PT As A Resource – Finally, don’t feel like you can’t reach back out and use your physical therapist as a resource. If you have questions about returning to certain activities, developing an exercise routine or just working towards a healthier lifestyle, don’t be afraid to ask! Physical therapists can do so much more than just help a patient overcome a specific injury, so if you want to improve your running form or your posture, we’re more than happy to help! You just need to reach back out!
If you have questions about how you can continue to thrive after finishing a physical therapy program, or you need help starting a program after an injury or surgery, reach out to the team at OrthoRehab Specialists today!