Thursday, January 15, 2015

Did you do your homework?

AKA did you do your home exercise program?

This is a question I ask clients constantly.  The prescribed exercises are absolutely critical in terms of making meaningful improvements and empowering clients to take ownership of their injury or condition.  The clients that follow through with their home exercises are more likely to have better outcomes and resume the activities they have been limited from.  Clients that sporadically or fail to comply with the exercise program will find their progress slow which can lead to frustration.  The home exercises are not only given to supplement what is done in clinic, but to allow the client to take control of their condition and understand how to manage it.  I like to think of my relationship with my clients as a team rather than a supervisor and a subordinate.  I will do my part to help manage your condition, while you do your part to reach the common goal (pain free and return to doing whatever you want/need to be doing activity-wise).  Please DO YOUR EXERCISES!  Otherwise, we (your PTs) have to turn into your nagging mother every time you come in for treatment and we have to give you that look.  The more compliant you are with your homework, the better the prognosis and overall outcome.
Another common question I am asked regarding home exercise programs, “how long do I have to do my home exercises for after I stop seeing you?”  The short answer: forever.  The funniest answer I ever heard, “Everyday until the week before you die.”    Ok, just a little PT humor.  In all seriousness, I advise clients to continue with their home exercise program and incorporate them into their gym activities if they go to the gym.  For those that don’t, then yes, you need to do your exercises several times a week.  Think of it as maintenance.  If the exercises have become WAY TOO easy then I recommend following up with the PT to have revisions made to the program as you may have “outgrown” your existing program.  Yours truly even makes sure to do my strength and flexibility exercises for my now resolved injuries.  For me, I DO NOT ever want to have to experience those pains again if I can help it. 
If you need a transitional gym/medical exercise program, we can help you with that.  After all, we know your body best after having the opportunity to work on you and with you to get you moving again.  If you need help with progressing your prescribed exercises once you have left us, then we can help you do that too.  Think of this as preventative or proactive medicine.  Your body is a living machine, it needs preventative maintenance to insure everything is in working order.  Failure to keep the maintenance up, then something is bound to “break" and when it does, don't wait get it checked out!

Friday, January 9, 2015

It’s a new year which means RESOLUTIONS!!!!

As everyone recovers from the holidays and we start a new year, most folks will make resolutions or goals to accomplish in the new year.  Usually they revolve around, fitness and wellness goals.  Hopefully, amongst those goals is one to “fix” any body parts that aren’t moving too well so that you can successfully achieve the bigger fitness and wellness goals that you have set for yourself.  You only have one body and it’s best to take care of it.

So, before you run off to the gym to get back into shape and work off any holiday guilt, do you have any lingering injuries or nagging pains that are still bothering you that you should probably address FIRST?  It is time to RESOLVE those aches and pains and get to the heart of what is really going on.  If the pain hasn’t gone away past its initial stages, then you have entered the chronic stage (which can be defined as anything past 3 weeks or so).  This is the stage where you have probably begun to compensate your movement patterns, avoided the provoking activities, and gone into the “hoping it’ll get better” mentality.  The only problem…it hasn’t gone away and you’ve let it go for months!  Enter your PT and your doctor.  They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to figuring out what is going on with your body.  The internet is not.  It can be, BUT self diagnosing can be dangerous.  It may lead you to thinking you have one pathology when you really have something else.  It can also prolong the process of healing and receiving the correct treatment for the condition.  Physical therapists and orthopedic doctors have YEARS of training and education to understand what is going on with your body, and how to treat it appropriately.  The last thing you want to do is overanalyze or become a hypochondriac thinking you have a catastrophic injury when it may simply be a tendonitis OR you think you have something minor like a tendonitis and it’s really a significant tear or something else.  We all have to face it sometimes, that the nagging pain that hasn’t gone away needs more than just what you may have self educated and treated based on what the internet said or someone “who once had a pain similar to that once.”  Save yourself the grief and get in to see your PT or ortho sooner rather than later.  The longer you wait, the longer it’ll take to correct.  Even PTs and doctors have to give in and get treated by colleagues sometimes. 
Happy 2015 and here's to a renewed healthier and happier you!!