Physical Therapists prescribe exercises for most conditions that we treat, whether the problem lies in the hip, shoulder, knee or spine. Those of you who have previously seen a physical therapist are probably familiar with the term “home exercise program.”
Home exercise programs generally include directions for exercises that the patient should continue to perform independently at home on the days they don’t attend physical therapy. Although some people find home exercises to be a nuisance, completing a home exercise program is an integral part of achieving success in physical therapy.
Typically, physical therapy incorporates some re-training and strengthening of specific muscles to perform according to individual functions. In order for muscles to “wake-up” and begin responding appropriately, frequent and consistent practice is necessary. For maximum benefit, it is important to take an active role in your physical therapy experience and continue the efforts that the therapist makes during scheduled visits at home.
Those patients who are good about performing their home exercise program are the same patients who come back feeling better, stronger, and more functional. Those patients who don’t perform their home exercise program are often not able to progress through therapy at the expected rate.
I encourage you to think of physical therapy as a way of learning how to help yourself. A physical therapist alone is not going to make you better, but he or she will teach you how to make yourself better. Performing your home exercise program on a consistent basis is a great way to invest in your own health and to demonstrate to your physical therapist that you are committed to achieving a successful rehabilitation.
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