Tag Archives: rehabilitation

benefits of a home exercise program

Why Should I Do My Home Exercise Program?

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benefits of a home exercise program

When a patient walks in for physical therapy, one of the things they are sent home with is a home exercise program. But why do they do that? Aren’t they supposed to take care of everything while you are in the clinic?  These are questions that may run through your head, but what exactly are the benefits of a home exercise program? If you’re on the fence of whether or not to take your HEP seriously, we’re here to tell you why you should.

  • Continuation of forwarding progression in rehabilitation: Physical and occupational therapists tailor each program to the abilities and strengths of each patient. A patient that completes their home exercise program is more likely to excel in the one-on-one sessions at the clinic and experience fewer setbacks in rehabilitation.
  • Increases level of mobility and endurance: Exercise in the home is designed to continue the progress of the clinic visit by increasing a patient’s flexibility and stamina. A good home exercise program allows a patient to increase function and improve muscle memory so that progress is gained rather than lost from one visit to another.
  • For some patients, therapy doesn’t end at discharge: A home exercise program can help a patient remain pain-free and functional without having to pay for repeat visits and costly medical bills. For patients experiencing chronic pain – a home exercise program is a ticket to staying out of the doctor’s office.

Despite the benefits of a home exercise program, patients have trouble following through on their home exercise program goals. We’re going to go over some of the more common excuses:

  • I don’t have time, because life at home is too busy: It can be hard, especially for those running a household with multiple schedules to accommodate. However, a physical therapist can offer suggestions on working these into your schedule. Some exercises can be done at work, at home, on the playground. If time is truly a concern than don’t be afraid to let the therapist know.
  • It hurts: Some pain is considered normal – it’s a normal part of exercise. However, if you are doing an exercise and something feels wrong, let your physical therapist know immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment and tell yourself you will take care of it then. It could be something as simple as not doing the exercise correctly and they can talk you through it over the phone. Communication is a large part of rehabilitation and your therapist wants to know if something is causing concern.
  • Not motivated: Not seeing the point of the exercises your therapist gave you – ask them why it is so beneficial. Going to see a physical therapist 2-3 times a week alone without doing home exercises will not be enough to maintain muscle strength and flexibility. Healthy habits begin with persistence. If you need motivation talk to your therapist, they are born motivators and want nothing more than to watch you succeed. Enlist the help of family or friends to keep asking about your progress.

Physical therapists may utilize print copies of exercises or they may choose to go utilize a digital version that you can access from a mobile device. No matter the delivery, the goal for each is the same. To help you heal more effectively. If you have questions about your home exercise program and what it contributes to your recovery talk to your physical therapist. Education and understanding are crucial to making sure your experience in recovery is successful. If you need help finding a physical therapist to answer your questions, we have you covered in our “Find a PT” section.

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PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. How to Deal with Chronic Joint and Muscle Pain
Written by the Therapy Team at Cornerstone Physical Therapy – Gahanna, OH

All of us have experienced pain and discomfort in the muscles and joints at some point, especially with age. In most cases, the use of over the counter medications, hot/cold packs and rest help resolve the problem. Read more

2. Pain at the Mall
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics – Northern Virginia

As the outside temperatures drop, people contemplating undertaking an exercise program often consider walking at the mall. Benefits include a controlled climate, an absence of traffic, security and easily available restrooms and water. Read more

3. Quality of Care in Rehab
Written by the Ian M. Campbell, DPT at Intermountain Physical Therapy – Boise, ID

What does quality care mean in rehabilitation? One can drive through their city and likely notice multiple physical therapy (PT) clinics. Some may be privately owned and operated, others run by local hospitals. Read more

lumbar physical therapy

The Phases of Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar Physical Therapy

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A great cervical, thoracic and lumbar physical therapy program is very important for patients who have experienced surgery. Rehabilitation will be modified based on body region and type of surgery.

Pre-Operative Phase
Prior to surgery, your physical therapist will perform a comprehensive evaluation to assess your mobility, strength, coordination, and function in order to create a customized home exercise program to perform in preparation for your surgical procedure. This program will be important for you to perform until you have surgery to help improve your recovery after surgery.

NON-FUSION PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PROGRAM

Phase 1 Post-Operative (0 – 4 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, you will undergo light activities, like walking. During this time, it is imperative that you perform the home exercise program your physical therapist taught you to improve muscle function, and help improve healing. During this time, you may exhibit pain and soreness due to the surgery. This is a normal part of the healing process.

  • Immediately following your surgery, you will be allowed to perform very light, gentle, activities of daily living around your home. However, do not lift more than 10 pounds (a milk jug), and go slowly when bending or twisting.
  • Walking is important to perform consistently as well. Move around your house, ensuring that the area is free of any obstacles which can cause you to fall. Walking around the block should be the limit to what you do in the first 2 weeks. This duration can be increased but should stay under one quarter of a mile for the first 4 weeks.

  • Healing is most important during this phase and post-surgical pain and soreness is normal.

Phase 2 Post-Operative (4 – 6 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, you will start physical therapy. Physical therapy during this phase will involve exercises to improve your mobility, strength, and stability. Due to an increase in activity during this time, it is normal to exhibit increased muscle soreness with physical therapy. The soreness will resolve as your muscles get stronger.

  • Formal physical therapy as prescribed by your surgeon will start.
  • Physical therapy will include a comprehensive evaluation to determine the appropriate treatment to improve mobility, strength, stability, and coordination.
  • It is normal to experience muscle soreness during this time with your program. Each person’s body has a different activity threshold that needs to be reached to make physical improvements and muscular soreness is a healthy, safe response to working in this threshold.
  • As your activity threshold level improves, the soreness will resolve.

Phase 3 Post-Operative (7 – 10 Weeks Post-Op)
During this phase, physical therapy will focus on dynamic exercises and activities emphasizing multiple planes of motion. During this time, you can expect more complicated exercises to challenge your coordination and stamina for reaching your goals.

  • During this phase, physical therapy will increase intensity in regards to your appropriate activity threshold.
  • Exercises and activities will become more challenging, more dynamic, and will involve multiple planes of motion to simulate and retrain muscles to complete your daily or recreational activities.
  • Your custom physical therapy program will include specific activities and exercises to prepare you for return to your functional goals.

Information provided by PT and Me physical therapy partner, Rehab Associates of Central Virginia. R.A.C.V. has 13 locations throughout central Virginia. More information about Rehab Associates of Central Virginia can be found on their website at www.racva.com.