The Key To Physical Therapy Success – Patient Commitment

Dec2nd 2020

Over the past 11 years, I have been practicing I have noticed a trend among many of my patients: Thinking that they will get instantaneous results without a commitment to their own care.  As a therapist, my #1 commitment is to my patients’ care and recovery.  What therapist doesn’t want to get their patients back to their normal selves, doing the things they love?

Dr. Katherine HawesI have tried countless times to persuade patients to add an extra day of therapy or to take some extra time to do their exercises.  You would think you would get a resounding “YES” from them because it is in their best interest, right?  Unfortunately, we live in a world where most of us are constantly running and the last person we take care of is ourselves. Sometimes I am pleading with patients to give it time and trust the process.  For those patients who have a negative view of therapy or say it didn’t work for them, it is typically because of a few factors:

  1. They didn’t give it enough time
  2. They didn’t perform exercises at home to continue the process done in the clinic
  3. Lack of communication with their therapists


Physical therapy takes time and that is where the commitment comes in.  As a therapist, we must sell our product and enable patients to see the process is working.  It is important to point out small victories.  For example, pain may return upon initial treatment, but then patients will be pain-free for a day, and then two days, and then a week, and then the pain is gone.  Or a patient can go up the stairs without pain.

Doing stretches and exercises at home is key to the physical therapy process. Once you find a plan of care that works – stick with it.  Even if you’re in pain try to do the stretches given by your therapist and they will alleviate some of the pain.  Keeping your body moving is the key to your success.

Communication between patients and their therapist is so important in developing an exercise plan.  As physical therapists, we are the experts of the body and movement, but patients are the experts of what works for them.  Keeping an open dialogue with your therapist is very important.  You need to let your therapist know if something is not working for you, if something hurts you, or if you don’t feel the exercises are challenging enough.  Some people are afraid to say something, but I always tell my patients that I will never have hurt feelings; I just care that they get better.  If that means we have to change their routine, then we change it.

When you are referred to therapy keep in mind that it will take time to return to your prior level of function, and much of that is dependent on the time and effort you commit to your sessions.  But if you keep up the hard work, do your exercises at home, and communicate with your therapist I promise it will yield results.  Come to us to try it out…

Schedule your FREE physical therapy consultation today!

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