Getting injured is no fun. Sometimes, though, the rehabilitation exercises required to get you back to 100% are even more difficult. This can sometimes lead to patients cutting corners, doing the wrong exercises or performing certain movements incorrectly, or even completely ignoring their injury rehab regimen altogether.
In order to avoid burnout and make sure your rehab routine is as effective as possible, we’ve outlined a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to injury rehabilitation. Whether you’re engaged in post-op treatment or rehabbing a sports-related injury, following these high-level rules will help you get the most out of your treatment.
If you aren’t 100% committed to recovering from your injury and getting back to your daily life, than the results from your injury rehabilitation are going to be less than stellar. There is definitely a mental component to recovering from an injury, most of which is committing yourself completely to a rehab routine and following through.
The best patients are the most informed patients. The more you know about your body and your specific injury, the better you will understand your treatment plan. If anything is unclear or your aren’t sure if you’re doing an exercise correctly, ask your physical therapist. It’s better to know that you’re doing something right than risk further injuring yourself because you didn’t ask.
Share as Much Information as Possible with Your Therapist
In the exact same way that an informed patient is a better patient, so to is an informed PT. Be open and honest with your physical therapist, and don’t hide information that could impact your treatment. This might include information specific to your injury, your physical activity, your lifestyle, any medications you take, etc.
Expect the Therapist to “Save You”
Your therapist is there to guide your injury rehabilitation treatment plan and make the necessary adjustments based on your progress, but you have to be an active participant in your care. Make sure you are fully engaged during your treatment session, pay attention to the movements and exercises your therapist is putting you through, and be sure to do your at-home treatment.
That last point is a big one when it comes to quick, successful injury rehab and lingering, recurring injuries.
Focus Only On Your Pain
Yes, injury rehabilitation can be a difficult and painful process. But if you only focus on the pain and not your progress, you won’t be getting the most out of your treatment. There have been dozens of studies showing that the power of positive thinking has benefits when it comes to illness and injury recovery. Apply this theory to your injury rehabilitation treatment, and try to focus less on your pain and more on what you’re working towards - a return to an active lifestyle.
Become Reliant On “Passive” Treatments
Massage, soft tissue work, joint mobilizations, acupuncture, and chiropractic treatments are all effective and should be utilized when needed during your injury rehabilitation. Keep in mind, though, that physical movement is essential to full recovery, which means that any “passive” treatment is followed up by movements and “active” treatment. By combining both “passive” and “active” injury rehab treatments, you can accelerate your recovery timeline and start to see results much more quickly than if you relied on a single treatment type alone.