My Physical Therapy FAQ

Orthopaedic & Spine Center

 

Paige Tretter, PT, DPT

  1. Can’t I just do the exercises that Physical Therapy gives me at home instead of going to the clinic?

Of course, you can!  Let’s do a quick self-assessment.  Do you go to the gym, or work out in some way, at least three times a week? Have you been consistent with this exercise/physical activity for at least three months without skipping a week, except for vacation or illness?  If you can say yes, then you probably will be motivated to do your exercises at home!  We, as physical therapists, are constantly reassessing a patient and updating a patient’s treatment program based on their improvements or regressions. This is something that you will miss out on when you are solely doing your exercises at home versus working with a therapist in the clinic. This may be something that will delay progress and slow the healing process.

2. Isn’t Physical Therapy just exercise, motivation and ice packs with some people watching you move?

The Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants who work at OSC are highly sought-after, educated and skilled providers who spend years studying the human musculoskeletal system, biomechanics of the human body, injuries, surgeries, and how to utilize movement and exercise as medicine to heal the body.  These are motivational individuals who are skilled experts in monitoring exercise form and exercise progressions as well as creating individualized treatment programs for the patient. Ice packs are one of the hundreds of resources that therapists can use to reduce inflammation. Physical therapists offer a wide array of manual therapy techniques to facilitate the healing process that we use during your treatment sessions, as well as other modalities including blood flow restriction training, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, cupping, dry needling, and many more!

3. What are the most intensive regimens of Physical Therapy that you do for patients and how long do they last?

Every patient is different! No patient presents exactly the same as another, even following the same surgery. For example, following a total knee replacement, which we treat at OSC quite frequently, we may see one patient for four weeks versus four months for another patient before they are discharged to their home exercise program. Before we discharge you, there are goals that we must reach including improved range of motion, strength, and ease of functional activities including stair negotiation, etc. The length of recovery and healing process is dependent on the previous level of function, duration of injury and pain, age, consistency of home exercise program, compliance with physical therapy, etc. Being an orthopedic practice, we also treat a lot of shoulder injuries and surgeries, which can be a longer healing process and therapy protocol as well. On average, your treatment session will last around one hour in duration, usually 2-3x per week depending on your diagnosis and treatment plan created by your therapist. Overall our main goal, no matter the injury or surgery, is to improve your overall quality of life!

4. What is the best part about being a Physical Therapist?

There are too many to list just one, but a few come to mind. It is rewarding to evaluate a patient who comes to physical therapy with limitations when performing their activities of daily living (difficulty standing from a chair, unable to reach into the cabinet, pain preventing someone from standing to cook dinner, etc.) who then leave physical therapy moving better than before their injury or surgery. Exercise is medicine, and I love that we, as physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, are able to help patients live pain free, no medication, and in some cases not, requiring surgery. We meet so many amazing patients every day at OSC and it is very humbling to see the change that you can make in someone’s life after a couple of sessions in PT. You’d be surprised what physical activity and movement can do for your body and healing! Your body was made to move.

5. What is the hardest part about being a Physical Therapist?

We see so many personalities come through the doors as a physical therapist, and it is our job to make sure that every individual is understood and that we can provide the best treatment possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to find what motivates one patient versus another. There are individuals who may not believe in the process of physical therapy, and this mindset may already hinder their improvement before walking through our front door. Mindset and motivation is a big part of improvement through physical therapy. Trust the process and trust your therapist! 

6. What do you wish that patients knew about Physical Therapy before walking in the door?  “The secret that no one tells them”, but they find out when they do Physical Therapy.

The outcome of physical therapy is heavily dependent on patient compliance and consistency with their treatment program. We are able to see the patient a few times a week, but we cannot force them to continue with their home exercise program outside of the clinic. We are able to provide patients with the “tools” and exercises they need to heal themselves on their own, but it takes repetition and consistency. Therapy is not always “easy”, but it is worth it! Just the process and we will get there together!

 

Make an appointment with our Physical Therapy Team or another OSC provider by clicking the “Request Appointment” button below or by calling (757) 596-1900.

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