When you came in for your first physical therapy visit, your therapist probably prescribed a plan of care for 2x/week for a certain number of weeks and then 1x/week for a certain number of weeks. However, you may then find yourself several weeks in feeling significantly better with more appointments scheduled. What should you do?
First off, yay! Our first goal in therapy is to reduce your pain. Success!
However, it is very important to continue with therapy for the entire prescribed plan of care to allow for the underlying causes that led to your pain in the first place to be corrected. Our goal in physical therapy is to not only to get you feeling better but to also prevent the same injury from reoccurring. Recurrent injuries lead to increased medical costs, risks of further injury, and,most importantly, lost time doing things that you love.
There are many factors that may contribute to an onset of pain including muscle tightness, muscle weakness, and sub-optimal mechanics with activities. During the initial examination, these underlying causes are identified which leads to the development of your individualized plan of care. The first phase is dedicated to pain relief while the second phase is specifically designed to correct these underlying causes of your pain and prevent reinjury.
During the second phase of PT, therapy sessions will focus on progressive exercise training. Progression will take place in a step wise manner starting with foundational skills and then incorporating these into your daily activities. It is vital that we start with these foundational skills to allow for a solid base to be built prior to progression toward return to activity. Each visit is crucial in your recovery to allow for optimal progression to take place.
So, stick with us even when you are feeling better. Your plan of care was specifically prescribed to allow for this optimal recovery and prevention of reinjury based on the underlying causes of your pain. If you have questions regarding the direction of your treatments and why your remaining visits are necessary, please ask!
Kaitlin Wensinger, PT, DPT