Supplementing Physical Therapy: 3 Things You Can Do at Home

Posted on: 26 October 2018


Physical therapy is no walk in the park. Trying to regain a full range of motion after a surgery or injury can be quite painful and take a seemingly inordinate amount of time. Before you get upset and give up on ever getting back to where you once were, take a deep breathe and read through this list of things you can do at home to supplement your physical therapy.

1. Do Your Home Exercises. It may sound harsh, but sometimes whether or not you will heal depends entirely on you. It does not matter how often you see your physical therapist during the week; an hour or two hours a day simply will not cut it. Depending on the severity of your injury, you need to be doing exercises at home. Some exercises need to be done as frequently as every hour to ensure that your muscles do not stiffen. Our bodies do not like to be uncomfortable. In fact, most of the time they become so set in their ways that it takes years of hard work to change very minute details about a person. It may help to understand this principle outside of physical therapy.

Think about a teenager with crooked teeth. Though investing in braces with money and time may straighten the teeth for a while, as soon as braces come off, teeth start to shift. It is for that reason that retainers must be applied in order to keep any progress that has been won. In the same way, a physical therapist may help you regain some range of motion, but if you do not do your home exercises, your body will slip back into whatever is most comfortable for it, like teeth without a retainer. Retain the progress you have made: do your home exercises. Talk to a physical therapist like those at Hands-On Physical Therapy about how you are feeling to see if they can offer additional advice.

2. Hot or Cold Therapy? Another secret weapon of physical therapy is applying a hot or cold pack to the affected area. Talk to your doctor about which type of therapy would help your specific ailment to heal. Heat therapy increases blood flow to a particular area, increasing healing. Cold therapy will decrease the blood flow to an area, reducing swelling. Applying one or potentially both of these therapies in an altering pattern could help your wound heal faster or make dealing with physical therapy a little easier. 

3. Rest. Listen to your body. Sometimes the best medicine is just sleep.