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You received a prescription for Physical Therapy after seeing an OrthoCarolina Doctor or Physician Assistant. We take your care seriously and want to help address our pain, recovery after surgery, and reduce the risk of future injury. We have put together a list of 10 things to prepare you for PT. 

We know you don't take that lightly, and absolutely want to make the most out of your time in physical therapy so you can get rid of your pain, rehab after surgery, surpass functional limitations, and reduce risk of future injury. Because we know this about you, we've put together a list of 10 ways you can optimize your time spent in Physical Therapy:

10 Ways to Make the Most out of Physical Therapy

Ask Questions

Physical Therapists are musculoskeletal specialists. Your PT team is there to help you in all aspects of your recovery including helping you better understand your diagnosis, and what your body can do.

Discuss and set goals with your PT

If you are having chronic issues think about how pain limits, you. Where do you have the most challenges? What do you do for fun? Imagine you are doing better with less pain, what does that look like?

Commit to the Process

Committing to the process is important. Work with your PT to understand how to create the best process that works FOR you. Here's the thing, physical therapy should work into your life and schedule. Talk with your PT at your evaluation about what would work best for you. Ask their suggestions on how to accomplish that. If you are going out of town or on a business trip, vacation, or something comes up, let your PT team know -- we can help you navigate this time so your recovery stays on track.

Do your Homework Exercises

They're part of the plan, team. These home exercises are tools to help you reach your goals. It’s not about perfection, it’s about practice and progress. Great exercises help you build things like confidence, strength, endurance and motion so you can reach your goals. The specifics can help but don’t forget about general everyday activities. Help us understand how things are going here too.

Manage Pain to Stay the course

Talk with your PT about any pain or discomfort before/after your session and see what can be done to mitigate to continue on the program. Share how things are going between visits to help your team understand what next steps to take. The best way to manage your pain is to first understand what is safe and appropriate. Then it is all about know pain, know gain. Understanding (the 'know') how your body’s alarm system works will help you reach your functional goals with chronic pain and after a surgical procedure.

Physical Therapy is a Team Sport

Remember, you are part of your therapy TEAM, team members being accountable to each other for progress. PTs are your coach during the recovery process. You are the team captain. We want to empower you to reach your goals. If you have questions, during your recovery let us know. We are here to support you.

Each appointment is about more than exercise

You already know that in physical therapy, you will perform exercises, but treatment also includes education about your injury, the healing process, and how to reduce the risk of future injury. There should always be a clear plan of what you as the patient need to be doing outside of the clinic to ensure sufficient recovery.You learn during PT, you win at home. Active treatment and exercise are a vehicle to help you reach your goals. There are many other important aspects embedded within a PT visit. We can work as advocates for your care. We can assist any communication that may be needed with your team. We can help any questions or provide any direction that you may need during your care. This process is about you and reaching your goals.

Don't skimp as it comes to Hydration and Nutrition

Keeping your body performing at its best will help your recovery. Something to consider before your PT visit is giving yourself some fuel. I will often suggest post-surgical patients try to eat some good carbs and protein before their visit. A glass of juice and some toast with peanut butter can be a great option for a pre-PT snack.

Sleep is essential for recovery.

From active individuals to professional athletes, sleep plays a crucial role in injury recovery. Whether you’re dealing with post-surgical recovery, a muscle strain, damaged tendon, or bone injury, sleep is key to getting your body back in top form.

Read more about sleep and injury recovery, here.

Remember, therapy doesn't end with the last session.

Progression and sustainability are the keys to building tissue resilience so you can meet and exceed your goals. It is important to understand physiology and the time it takes to acquire things like motion, strength, endurance, and power. After about 2 weeks you should feel a difference. Moving better. Moving further. Feeling stronger. This is the beginning of the process where your nervous system becomes better prepared and efficient.

To acquire strength and actually make a change in muscles you need to keep progressing for another 4-6 weeks. Achieving better endurance with your muscles and cardiovascular system will need 6 more weeks. This is why goals are so important and so is celebrating your wins. Reward yourself. If you just accomplished walking a mile after having a total knee and your goal is to be able to walk 2-3 miles, buy yourself a new pair of shoes as a reward! This will help you dive in deeper and get closer to your goal.

OrthoCarolina is here for you at every step of your orthopedic care.

Remember, we want to work with your schedule, so share with us what that looks like. Injuries happen when we least expect them. OrthoCarolina has providers who care about you and want to help you on your journey to recovery. We practice a patient-centered philosophy of meeting you where you are and helping you become your best self.

Tell us in the comments which tip you'll be putting into action first or ask another question you have about Physical Therapy:

Would you like to share your journey through physical therapy at OrthoCarolina? Send us an email & let us celebrate with you!


October 27, 2022

Tomorrow is my first day for PT I am excited because I can't wait to be able to use my leg again after total hip replacement.
- Brenda Sanders
Reply From: OrthoCarolina

October 31, 2022

We are cheering you on, Brenda!