Has a doctor recommended that you visit a physical therapist for the first time? You might be looking forward to this visit, or you may be dreading it a little. Your reaction likely depends, at least in part, on what you know or believe about physical therapy. Some of what you know and expect is likely correct, but there are also some pretty prominent misconceptions floating around about physical therapy. This article will clear them up, which should give you a more accurate idea of what to expect on your first visit and beyond.
Misconception: You really only have to go once to learn the exercises.
During your first PT visit, your therapist will likely teach you some exercises and then ask you to repeat them at home. But don't assume that means there is no reason to go back to PT. Each time you visit, your therapist will reassess your progress, and if needed, show you new or different exercises to add to your routine. The exercises you do will build on each other over time. As such, it is important to keep going back until your therapist or doctor tells you that you've done enough.
Misconception: Physical therapy always hurts.
It is true that when you first see a PT, some of the stretches and exercises you do might hurt a little. This is especially likely if you're having PT as a part of recovery from surgery. But this pain is a necessary part of the stretching and healing process, and it will go away quickly. You should have less and less pain as time goes on, and this is actually a good indicator of your progress.
Misconception: Physical therapy is only for athletes.
Physical therapy is common among athletes who are recovering from injuries or surgical procedures. But it is also recommended for non-athletes of all ages and abilities. If your doctor has advised you to go to PT, then you belong there. PT does not just help people get back in the gym or back on the field. It can also help restore your mobility so you can go back to work, do daily tasks more comfortably, and avoid additional injuries in the future.
With these misconceptions cleared up, you should be better prepared for your appointment with a physical therapist. If you put the effort in during your PT sessions, it almost always pays off. For more information on physical therapy, contact a professional near you.
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