Physical therapy (PT) can help reduce joint or back pain and promote healing after an injury or joint replacement surgery. During PT, you’ll learn how to perform exercises to restore your mobility so you can return to activities you enjoy.
But how can you continue your recovery and maintain mobility long after completing physical therapy? That’s a question your physical therapist can help answer.
“Just as your doctor prescribes medication to treat a medical condition, your physical therapist develops an individualized long-term exercise plan to help you build on the progress you’ve made during treatment,” says Laura Agemak, MPT, a physical therapist at Henry Ford Health. “We work closely with patients to develop a plan that maintains mobility while preventing relapses or future injuries.”
Here Agemak explains how an at-home exercise plan aids recovery during physical therapy and after treatment.
Getting Started With Physical Therapy: An Exercise Plan To Restore Mobility
At your first appointment, your therapist will review your medical history and evaluate your ability to move by assessing your:
- Joint mobility
- Range of motion
“We create a customized plan to meet each patient’s functional goals,” says Agemak. “Some patients want to return to elite athletic competition while others want to get up more easily or prevent a future fall.”
During physical therapy, your therapist is your coach, offering encouragement and tips on the proper form for each exercise. “Once you’ve mastered a skill, we’ll add new exercises to build upon your success,” says Agemak. The frequency and duration of your treatment will depend on your condition.
After Physical Therapy: An Exercise Plan To Maintain Mobility
Before completing physical therapy, your therapist will create an at-home exercise plan to help maintain your progress. “Our goal is to set you on the path for pain- and injury-free movement,” says Agemak. “We want to help you stay active, whether that’s getting back to a favorite sport, taking a daily walk or playing with your grandkids.”
She recommends following these guidelines to help you maintain mobility after treatment:
- Make exercise a daily habit: Do exercises in one session or in snack-sized sessions throughout the day to continue improving your strength, balance and flexibility.
- Pay attention to your form: Use proper technique to avoid injury and get the maximum benefit from exercise. Your physical therapist can provide learning tools, such as pamphlets or videos, with instructions for each activity.
- Increase exercise intensity as mobility improves: Your physical therapist will explain how to adapt your exercises as you gain strength and endurance. For example, add resistance with bands, free weights or your body weight. This strength training can build stronger bones to support your mobility.
- Maintain proper body mechanics: During treatment, your therapist will teach you how to perform daily movements to prevent muscle and joint strain and avoid injury. For example, your therapist may teach you how to maintain a healthy posture or bend to pick up an object from the floor.
- Be patient as you recover: It may take time to regain mobility after an injury or surgery. Celebrate every milestone you achieve on the road to recovery.
- Consult your physical therapist: Your therapist can serve as a resource as you navigate mobility challenges after treatment. If you experience a relapse, they can suggest ways to adjust your exercise plan to help you recover.
Looking for more information about mobility exercises or want to make an appointment with a physical therapist? Call 1-800-436-7936 to schedule a physical therapy appointment. Learn more at henryford.com.