Will I Need Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is an important part of recovery for many patients at Bruce Carter United Orthopaedic and Spine Center. Your doctor will likely recommend physical therapy if you have experienced decreased strength, loss of range of motion, or have difficulty getting around because of your injury. Physical therapy not only helps you regain strength and mobility, it can prevent you from injuring the same part of your body again in the future. These are just some of the conditions we treat that can benefit from regularly scheduled physical therapy:

  • Arthritis
  • Low back pain
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Fractures and sprains
  • Post-surgical strength training
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Sports injuries

You will have regular check-ups with your doctor to assess how you are doing during physical therapy. Your doctor may suggest changes to your physical therapist if he or she feels they are necessary. This may include stopping physical therapy in favor of a different treatment approach if you are not making progress as expected.

Goals for Physical Therapy and What to Expect at Your First Appointment

Promoting healing and relieving your pain are the primary goals of physical therapy. Restoring movement and function and helping you adapt to your condition are also essential components of the process. With a focus on body ergonomics, fitness, and wellness, physical therapy offers benefits that extend beyond recovery from your initial injury.

You should anticipate undergoing an in-depth evaluation during your physical therapy appointment. This could take between 45 minutes and one hour. Your initial assessment allows your physical therapist to determine your primary problems and devise a plan for treating them. He or she can see which muscles are working at normal capacity and which ones need additional training to get to that point. Checking your balance and range of motion are also a normal part of a physical therapy evaluation.

Your Ongoing Sessions

Your physical therapist will write a summary of your initial assessment and use this information to plan future sessions. Your ongoing schedule depends on the severity of your injury and your own availability. Some patients make significant progress coming in just once a week while others need to come in several times a week before they make progress and can cut back. No matter what schedule your physical therapist recommends, you must commit to completing the exercises he or she assigns at home. This is an essential part of your recovery.

Each physical therapy session lasts approximately one hour. The specific exercises you complete depend on the location and extent of your injury. For example, someone who received a concussion while playing soccer might struggle with coordination and balance after the initial head injury. The physical therapist in this case would place the patient in various situations that challenge the balance system, such as walking on uneven floor surfaces. Exercises for someone with chronic low back pain and no identifying cause could benefit from stretching, core exercises, and weight lifting.

Your Recovery Depends on Your Effort

After each appointment, your physical therapist will send you home with a series of exercises to do on your own. The goal is to gradually make your at-home exercises more challenging. You can expect your physical therapist to add repetitions or increase the time you spend doing each exercise if you are doing well. He or she may make adjustments if you are struggling, but the goal of increasing the challenge and building your strength remains the same.

Honest communication with your physical therapist is essential to your success with the program. Don’t be afraid to let him or her know when you are having difficulty completing your exercises or if you have concerns about your progress. Our entire team is invested in your recovery and will do everything possible to help you.

Please note, the information provided throughout this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and video, on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. If you are experiencing related symptoms, please visit your doctor or call 9-1-1 in an emergency.