Physical therapy is a crucial part of the recovery process, be it from an injury or surgery. A physical therapist works with a patient to strengthen the muscles associated with the afflicted area, as well as those around it.
Physical therapy can address scar tissue, pain, mobility, strength, and much more to ensure a proper recovery.
What does physical therapy consist of?
Physical therapy exercises are customized to the patients and their injuries. These stretches and activities target the affected area with the aim to gradually improve ailments there.
Movements may focus on range of motion, and can be passive, active, or active assisted. A therapist may focus on progressive resistive exercise, which helps improve muscle strength through applying resistance to muscle movements.
You can work on both balance and strength training. Aerobic conditioning helps the heart and lungs pump blood, delivering more oxygen to muscles and organs.
How often is physical therapy done?
As with all things medical, these things are determined on a case-by-case basis. This can depend on the severity of the injury or surgery, and how an individual’s body adapts to the therapy itself.
A typical session can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. Sessions with a physical therapist often start at 2 to 3 times a week, and wane as time goes on. For minor injuries therapy can last 2 to 4 weeks, while most extensive injuries call for up to 12 weeks of therapy.
Oftentimes at-home exercises are recommended either during or after completing work with a physical therapist to aid you. These exercises should not be forgotten, as they only help further the recovery process.
Additionally, skipping these supplemental exercises may add to your recovery time or cause further complications.
What does a rest day do?
Part of a physical therapy regimen is adding in rest days. This is as much a part of the process as the active days.
Resting gives the body a chance to remove excess lactate from its muscles, giving way for the alleviation of pain and soreness.
It is during this time that muscles also have the ability to repair.
Overall, rest days help replenish the body’s energy and reduce muscle fatigue. This gets the body ready for its next round of movement.
Another thing that rests when your body does is your mind. Going through physical therapy can be mentally taxing. It can lead to frustration and a sense of dread, knowing what you must put your body through.
Anticipating a day off can do wonders for your mental health and keep you on track for long term recovery.
When is rest NOT a good thing?
When there’s too much of it! Like so many things in life, physical therapy and recovery are about balance. Too much rest can lead to muscle imbalance or atrophy, further exacerbating the problem.
While rest is an important part of recovery, it’s also a tactic to be done in moderation and coupled with physical movements.