Physical therapy is far from the most exciting activity in the world, but at the same time, we hope patients don’t dread coming to their appointments. In fact, there are some real-world consequences of being afraid of your physical therapy sessions. That’s why it’s so important to have a healthy mindset about your injury, your physical therapy routine and your rehabilitation journey. In today’s blog, we look at why a healthy mindset is so important for your recovery outcomes.
The Drawbacks Of Fearing Your PT Routine
If you’re afraid of your physical therapy routine or you dread doing your therapy, there are some obvious drawbacks. You may be less likely to show up to your sessions or follow through on your full routine, but new research out of Boston Medical University found that this type of activity fear avoidance can make it less likely that your therapy is successful.
For their study, researchers examined nearly 300 patients with chronic low back pain. Participants were separated into three groups, with one receiving yoga therapy, one receiving standard physical therapy and one considered a “self-care” group that involved patient education and stretching routines. Not surprisingly, those in the yoga and physical therapy groups outperformed individuals in the self-care group.
However, interesting conclusions emerged when researchers examined a participant’s motivations and fears. Of those participants who had less fear of exercise, 53 percent responded well to yoga, 42 percent responded well to physical therapy, and 13 percent responded well to self-care. On the flip side, those who had a high fear of exercise tended to have a poor response no matter which of the three groups they were in.
Researchers weren’t able to discern why participants who didn’t fear exercise had better outcomes, but it speaks to the larger point of how caring for your physical health is more than just a physical issue. You also need to have a healthy mindset about your injury and recovery journey.