Adherence to Home Exercise Programs Improve PT Outcomes
If you’ve been to physical therapy, you likely received a home exercise program. Research says that if you do your home exercise program, you’ll have a significantly better chance of meeting your goals and feeling better more quickly. Not performing a home exercise program increases the risk of recurrent injury or flare-ups with less positive long-term outcomes. It is estimated that only 40 to 50% of patients perform their exercises regularly. Here are some suggestions to help you succeed with physical therapy and your home exercise program:
Barriers to exercise – Plan ahead
Many of the barriers to physical therapy exercises are the same as barriers to general exercise. These include lack of time, busy work schedules, forgetting to do the exercises, lack of space, or lack of equipment. These can be overcome with some forethought and planning, such as entering your exercises in your schedule, setting a daily reminder, or adjusting your program to fit the time, space and equipment you have.
Address pain and beliefs
If exercises cause pain, you may be reluctant to do them. When your PT prescribes home exercises, they’ll show you the proper way to perform them and have you practice them in the clinic first. If you’re experiencing pain with the exercises, be sure to report that to your therapist so they can address the pain and make modifications to make the exercises more comfortable for you.
Additionally, people’s beliefs may be another barrier to overcome. If you don’t understand what the exercises are meant to do, you may feel it is not worth the time. Your physical therapist will explain why they are prescribing specific exercises and what they are meant to do in your treatment plan. When you understand the reason for the exercises, it helps to with the motivation to do them.
Social support is shown to significantly improve adherence to exercise. This is why group exercise classes work well for many people. If you have a family member, friend, or PT who check in regularly to ask if you’re doing your exercises and how they are going can help keep you to stay motivated. Being accountable to someone other than yourself can be a big motivator.
Technology is another potential solution that can help you be consistent with your exercises. There are many apps that can track your exercise. Seeing that streak of days you’ve exercised will motivate you not to break it. Smartwatches and activity trackers can fill the same role.
Doing your home exercise program daily will help you get the most out of your PT treatment. With a little planning and a little help, you can make sure that you perform the home exercises consistently to ensure you get the very best outcome.
You don’t have to live with pain; if you are interested in beginning physical therapy, choose Northern Rehab and get back to the activities you enjoy. Although it is important to keep your doctor informed about starting a new program, a physician’s prescription is not required to begin physical therapy treatment. For more information please or to schedule an appointment please call 815.756.8524.