You’re now several weeks into your physical therapy treatments and things are going great. You’re starting to have less pain, your joints are feeling less stiff and you’re hopefully closing in on achieving that big goal you set for yourself.
It’s going so well in fact, that your NEW concern becomes, “how will I keep this problem from coming back”? This is a great question, and it might even be the #1 question we get asked from patients during the course of their physical therapy treatment. Want to know our response? Keep reading.
1. Keep Up With Your Home Exercises
Seems like the obvious answer, right? This is no shocker. Up until this point you’ve likely been doing a certain set of exercises and that set of exercises has helped get you to this point. Why stop now? Is it worth it to spend 15 minutes a day doing exercises to keep you pain free and active? We would argue, yes. The exercises are easy - staying accountable while no one is watching is the hardest part (more on that in #5).
2. Don’t Slip Back Into Bad Habits
You’ve been coming to therapy 2-3 times per week over the past month. That means you’ve had someone constantly reminding you of your posture, gait or ergonomics. We’ve kept a watchful eye over you but when your treatment comes to an end, you’ll have to remember all these things on your own.
3. Begin With The End In Mind
What is your ultimate goal? What do you see life looking like for you once you have achieved it? If you’re a desk jockey with back pain because you sit for 10 hours a day, do you plan on keeping your workstation the same and not changing your activity level? Or will you invest in a more supportive chair, set an alarm to stand every 45 minutes and ask your boss for an option to move your desk into a standing position? Imagine what needs to happen for you to be successful long-term and start making those changes now.
4. Find Healthy Ways To Manage Stress
It’s no secret that when stress levels go up, so can your pain. Be mindful of your stress level and what your triggers are. When you sense a high-stress situation, have a plan for decompressing. Some people like to take a hot bath while others like to hit the gym or go for a run. For those of you thinking about a glass of wine, that’s OK too. Just remember that alcohol contains sugar and sugar can contribute to inflammation. 😉
5. Get With Your PT For Regular Check-Ups
We saved the best for last. The singular BEST way to keep your progress going after physical therapy is with regular check-ups. As much as you’ve enjoyed your experience with us, we don’t have any false beliefs that you could think of no where else you’d rather be for 1-2 hours a day, 2-3 days out of your week. So, why not make sure you’re doing everything possible to stay out of the doctor’s office? Don’t let it get bad again. Talk to your therapist about which of our wellness options is best for you.