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Ten Things your Physical Therapist wants to tell you

Written by Megan Stancill, DPT. Physical Therapist, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Registered Yoga Teacher

1. Don’t Google it!
We get it. You’re human. The temptation to rush home and google your condition after getting a diagnosis is real. Please relax and leave the educating to us and your physician. We will help you understand your diagnosis without clicking through WebMD into an internet rabbit hole.

2. Physical therapists are educators and we love to answer your questions.
Here at Shift we provide one-on-one care in all of our PT sessions. This means that you will be with your therapist for your entire appointment. Feel free to ask us any questions that might come up during your treatment. Not sure what muscles are working during an exercise? Just ask! Not sure why we select certain exercises or treatments? Just ask!

3. We care about your total health.
Working through pain can be frustrating, challenging, scary or make you feel sad. We understand. We want to support you as you recover and it’s okay to talk about how your illness makes you feel. The story of your health journey is important to us.

4. You will get out of PT, what you put into it.
Physical therapists prescribe exercise just like doctors prescribe medication. You will learn exercises in PT and you will have homework! If your doctor gave you a pill to take every day to get better, you’d take it until your prescription ran out. Our pill? Is your home exercise program.

5. There will be bumps on the road to recovery.
The road to recovery from an illness, surgery or injury is rarely a steady progression towards feeling better. It’s normal to feel sore the day after exercising or a manual manipulation in your treatment session. Communicate with your therapist and they will adjust your treatment to accommodate how you’re feeling. Typically your pain may get better and then you may have some days where you feel like you are getting worse. We encourage you to look at the overall trend of your recovery. That’s why we set measurable goals.

6. Goals are important.
Injury and illness can sideline us from activities we love. Let your PT know what you used to be able to do and we can help you get back to doing it. Your activity doesn’t have to be a sport! Your goal can be playing on the floor with your grandchildren or being able to stand comfortably in order to cook a meal.

7. Please bring a printed list of your medications.
In your initial appointment you’ll be asked by your physical therapist what medications you are taking. It’s easier and faster if you have a written list for us in advance.

8. Physical therapists can treat more than spines, arms and legs.
Our physical therapists can also treat incontinence, constipation, pain with intercourse, headaches, TMJ, clogged milk ducts, facial paralysis due to Bell’s Palsy, vertigo, balance problems, stroke, scars… Just ask our front desk and we will let you know if we can help.

9. Getting stronger before elective surgery will speed your recovery.
Physical therapists can help you get stronger before surgery so that you can rehab quicker. Talk to us about building a prehab plan for you if you are a candidate for a knee or hip replacement.

10. The problem may not be where you feel the pain.
Physical therapists are trained to assess movement. We look at your whole body when you come for an evaluation. You may have pain in your knee but it’s possible that we need to treat your hip and/or ankle before you feel better. We will also look at your posture, how you breathe and how you sit, stand and walk.

To book an appointment with one of our highly skilled therapists click here.