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Effective Communication with Your Cheyenne Physical Therapist

June 22, 2016

The most effective way of accomplishing anything is by setting clear goals, both long and short term. Successful physical therapy is no exception. Before meeting with your physical therapist for the first time,you should take the time to consider and write down some goals for your physical therapy. This will help you stay motivated, and it will help your therapist to design a regimen to help you reach those goals.

Goal setting is the first step in creating a proactive and open dialog with your therapist about your stint in physical therapy. When asked about their primary goal for going in to physical therapy many simply say, “To get back to normal.” While this may make perfect sense to you, your therapist likely didn’t know you before and has no idea what your definition of normal is.

Try to come up with one broader long term goal such as, “I would like to be able to return to work”. Or maybe, “I would like to be able to take care of my household needs unassisted”. You can break the long term goal into several aspects that would make that possible. Many examples of
goal setting worksheets for physical therapy in Cheyenne can be found online.

Examples for returning to work

If you would like to return to work, try to think about your average day at work. What physical activity is required to do your job? Don’t forget to take into account getting to and from work as well. After thinking about your work day you may determine that you must be able to walk up to 100 yards at a time, sit for at least 2 hours without stretching, and have enough dexterity to type for several hours straight.

Examples for unassisted household maintenance

Living independently in your own home may mean being able to stand intermittently for 30 minutes at a counter to prepare a meal, reach and lift over your head at least 5 pounds, being able to bend and pick up 5 pounds, being able to lift yourself from a standing position, stepping high enough to get into a shower/bathtub, and maneuver enough to get in and out of bed.

Evaluation and creating short term goals

After looking at the end goals, you and your therapist can sit down and create a regimen that makes sense for fulfilling them in a healthy and realistic way that is not going to further jeopardize your health. One of the main reasons patients have stated that they have lost motivation is that they failed to see how the exercises they were doing contributed to what they saw as their overall goal. If your goal is to be able to walk 100 yards you might be able to see the benefit of walking 25 yards first with a cane and gradually increasing the distance. But you need to keep in mind that sometimes a certain function or movement involves strengthening the area around the muscles involved for support.

For instance you might be thinking why am I doing trunk exercises and measuring my vertical reach when I’m an accountant and I just want to be able to drive to work, get to my desk, and do taxes?  If you don’t see the value in something, ask your therapist. In this case they might be able to explain that the vertical reach exercise might be so that you can easily pull clothes over your head. You’re going to have to get up pretty early if it takes you the better part of an hour to get dressed so this range of motion is integral to getting you back on the clock. As far as strengthening your core and working on rotating, perhaps your therapist has learned that your desk is in an “L” formation and this range of motion is so that you don’t turn quickly to answer the phone and reinjure yourself. Even swinging your legs out of car can involve a variety of muscle groups.

Your physical therapy experience is going to be much more enjoyable and effective both for you and your therapist with good, open communication. If you don’t understand something, ask!  If you have any questions or would like to set up a consultation please visit North Platte Physical Therapy for more information!