Top Ten Things PTs Wished their Patients Knew

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By: Dr. Jill Murphy, Physical Therapist

10. When you come to PT, dress appropriately! Be ready to work-out, and bring work-out shoes, especially if you would like to fit any kind of off the shelf or custom orthotics.  If you just bought some new work-out shoes, bring those too!

9. Please don’t wait! Don’t wait more than a week for something to get better (with the appropriate resting and icnig), and don’t to wait for your doctor unless you are a post-op patient or if you think you might have a fracture.. At MotionWorks Physical Therapy, we would rather you come to PT directly to save time, because the longer you go without treatment for an acute problem, the longer it may take to recover. If you do need to see a physician for your injury, we will let you know!

8. PT is hard work. In the clinic, doctors of physical therapy may perform many hands-on techniques to help relieve your pain, but in order to maintain this work and get stronger, you will have homework (exercises) that need to be faithfully performed at home to make the most of your physical therapy and increase your speed of recovery.

7. We don’t know everything. In fact, we relish learning from our patients, especially for more rare diagnoses that we take on. We’ll be up front with you about what we know and what we don’t know, your prognosis, and treatment approaches that should work.  If we don't know the answer, rest assured we will find the answer for you.

6. We appreciate your feedback. If something is not going right during your session or over the course of several visits, please speak up! We can’t help you or change our approach if we don’t know. It’s not being rude, it’s merely actively participating in your own rehab process.  Communication is key! Our goal is to partner with you as we together work toward achieving your goals.

5. Please tell us if you are in pain. Maybe some slight pain is normal for a given treatment, but let us know anyway. We know that not everyone feels the same amount of pain or tenderness in a given area for a given treatment.  Let us know and we will adjust our approach to keep physical therapy comfortable for you.

4. While we are not MDs or DOs, doctors of physical therapy have extensive training in the musculoskeletal system, which makes us your experts in conservative sports medicine, orthopedic , and spine care!

3. We love questions! Please ask any and every question you have. Much of what we do as doctors of physical therapy is educate our patients about their body- how it works, what went wrong, and how to prevent the injury from occurring next time. Our goal is to empower our patients with know-how to literally work us out of a job over the course of rehabilitation.

2. We don’t have a crystal ball, so we can’t tell you precisely how many visits it might take to fully recover in physical therapy. However, at your first visit we will give you an approximate idea of how many visits it might take to fully recover based on previous experience with patients with similar injuries or surgeries like yours. We will formally re-evaluate your progress at regular intervals and keep you updated on your overall progress.  Feel free to ask us when we think it might be safe for your to return to specific activities like returning to work, walking your dog, playing sports, and any other activities.

1. There is no such thing as a quick fix! Now, some injuries are easier and faster to treat than others; but in general, it takes time to recover from an injury serious enough to require physical therapy. After all, I’m guessing your injury did not simply show up overnight. Please be patient, work hard, and know that we are doing everything that we can (and we will teach you how to do everything you can) to ensure a successful return to the activities you enjoy in life as fast as possible!