Have you been in pain and made a promise to yourself to finally get your health back on a Wellness track? Physical therapy can be a significant part of honoring that commitment (it can even work if you didn’t make a promise to yourself)! But not everyone who is in pain goes to PT. Why not? Physical therapists over the years have heard many reasons why they don’t. Here’s a list of a few we’ve heard most often.
- It takes too long.
- It hurts.
- It’s boring.
- I don’t need someone to count for me.
- It’s not helping.
- It’s too expensive.
- I am scared I might get hurt.
- I don’t have time to do my home exercise.
Perhaps you’ve even said one of those above? If so, can we help reframe your thinking a bit?
It takes too long. Yes, going to and from therapy, doing your session, and doing your home program takes time. Telehealth, while not the same as in-person therapy, can remove travel time. Try mixing your in-person visits with some telehealth – get the hands-on care you might need, and then graduate to a more home-exercise-focused approach. Of course, if you are in pain, the time spent on PT may all be worth it. Think of all that time you’ll get back because you won’t be complaining about hurting so much! Speaking of hurting so much…
It hurts. Yes, sometimes therapy does hurt. Some pain can be helpful information though as it helps isolate issues so your PT can know which exercises can best improve them. Or, maybe the therapist just needs to be gentler next time! Everyone has their level of pain tolerance. Tell your therapist if something hurts too much so they can adjust to your needs.
It’s boring. What? Your therapist doesn’t tell enough funny jokes for you? Yes, therapy is sometimes boring. If you are bored, tell your therapist. They might be able to design a way to make it more interesting. Like taking a bite of pizza for every repetition. (We’re kidding!) More like if tennis is your game, your PT might craft an exercise that practices your forehand or backhand to strengthen the muscles you need to ace your next opponent! Maybe your PT can turn your session into a mini-competition? Can you beat your personal best from your last session?
I don’t need someone to count for me. Sometimes therapists will sit and count your reps. But that’s not all they are doing. They are watching your form. Are you holding your breath? Are you straining? Do you need more or less weight? Are you using muscles you should not be using? Remember all practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. Your therapist wants to be sure you know what to do, so when you do it at home, you will do it correctly.
PT isn’t helping. Some conditions respond rapidly to treatment; some take time. If you’ve recently undergone surgery, your progress might be limited until your body heals a bit from the trauma. Your surgeon might have put limitations on you to keep you safe and you may feel like you’ve gone backward. But you can measure your progress in other ways. Be creative!
Can you tolerate more? Do you need fewer rest breaks? Maybe your maximum pain has not decreased but the hours per day you suffer in it are far fewer. Maybe you are sleeping better? Maybe you need fewer pain meds? You have a right to know if you are progressing. But there are many ways to measure progress.
It’s too expensive. Many insurances have a high copay. Remember, time is money, so here is something to think about – will you be more efficient once you finish therapy? Many times people change how they do things due to pain or weakness. Once you are healthier, you might be able to do errands in less time than before therapy. Or be able to enjoy playing with your grandchildren even more! Now how can you put a price on that?
I am scared I might get hurt. Many patients are afraid to do their home exercise program for fear of doing it wrong and hurting themselves more. Some are even scared of doing exercises in the clinic! How do I know it will not trigger something else to hurt? If this is you, have this conversation with your therapist. They can start you off easy and ramp things up slowly, giving you time to adapt to the exercise and feel more comfortable.
I don’t have time for my home exercises. Some patients don’t return because they feel ashamed they didn’t do their home exercise program. Many therapists push a home program, but they aren’t judging you if you don’t do it. They want you to do it as the point of doing it is to help you. Simple ergonomic suggestions like how to best set up your exercise space or how you sleep at night can make a huge difference in how you feel about doing the homework. So talk to your therapist if anything is preventing you from continuing your therapy!
Physical therapy does work, but it also takes a bit of work. Having a therapist that takes the time to hear your concerns helps build rapport and trust. With trust, you are more likely to improve. So voice your concerns with your PT! Or, just call us! We are confident we can address them!
If you’re looking for a facility full of caring, highly-skilled clinicians, look no further than Midtown Physical Therapy.
You’ll get a full one-on-one session with a skilled clinician who takes the time to hear your concerns and will create a treatment that best suits you.
Choose wisely and we hope to see you soon!
Contact us below to schedule a one-on-one appointment with one of our therapists. Your therapist will provide an individualized assessment and develop a customized treatment plan to help you attain your goals. We offer in-person visits at our offices in Riverdale and the Upper West Side, concierge in-home sessions, and virtual visits over Telehealth to cater to all of your needs.
We look forward to helping you achieve your wellness goals.
TeaMPT: Rachel, Julie, Christine, Yoshi, Liz, Moshe, Pooja, Cassy, Shalann, and Toni