How To Get The Most Out Of Your Time In Physical Therapy

A Patient’s Guide Written By A Physical Therapist

physical therapy goals
This is a guest post by Randal Glaser, PT, DPT, OCS, CEAS I. He is the Co-founder of Jetset Rehab Education, a continuing education company for Rehab Professionals. You can check out Jetset’s blog and podcast (which will both feature yours truly soon!). Follow Jetset on twitter and instagram for exciting con-ed opportunities in exotic locations, and for Randal’s incredible photography skills.

As a Physical Therapist, I’ve worked with – and treated – a lot of patients. I’ve had experiences with satisfied patients who have called me a miracle worker. On the flip side, I’ve also had patients who disagreed with my treatment altogether. And then there are those who were simply indifferent. If I’m completely honest with myself, I can reflect on – and learn from – each experience, regardless of the outcome, to improve patient care moving forward.

Over the years, I’ve taken notes on how to better my interactions with patients to get the best possible results.  I’ve also noticed that, although each patient is unique, those who have successful outcomes share a common set of attitudes and disciplines.

I’d like to share with you these best-patient-practices, which I hope can serve as a guide to help you get the most out of your time in physical therapy.

When Driving Becomes a Pain in the Butt

4 Tips For Comfortable Car Rides

Buttock Pain from Driving

So, you’re taking a summer vacation this year – driving to the cabin with the family? The river? The lake? Six hours in the car isn’t so bad. You’ll leave early to miss the traffic and make sure to use the restroom beforehand so you won’t have to stop. You’ve made the drive dozens of times before, no problem. Then you feel it – halfway there you start squirming in your seat, shifting from one cheek to the other. An hour goes by and you’ve adjusted the backrest four times with no relief. Finally, you admit it: this drive is becoming a pain in the butt!

We’ve all been there. You got a new car, you tried pillows, adjusted the seat, yet nothing seems to make a difference. So, what causes this buttock pain during long car rides and what can you do about it?

What Can Balance Training Do for You? [Exercise Progression Video]

Balance Exercise

What do a 15-year-old soccer player and an 85-year-old bridge player have in common? They can both benefit from balance training. Bobby’s goal is to prevent another ankle sprain. Edna’s goal is to prevent another fall. Whoever you are: young or old, fit or sedentary, athlete or office worker, you can benefit from balance training.

Let’s take a look at what systems in your body contribute to balance, why balance training is so important for different groups of people, and – most importantly – how you can improve your balance with a progression of exercises…

Knee Replacement Rehab [What You Need To Know]

Total Knee Replacement Surgery

Several years ago, when I was a Physical Therapy student, I had the privilege of observing a couple of live surgeries, one of which was a Total Knee Replacement. Simply put, I was blown away at how mechanical the surgeon and his team were during the procedure. The process was precise down to the last detail – the preparation, the cuts, the tools, the measurements – nothing was left to chance. There was no guesswork, just a series of steps that were taken to get the job done.

I’m glad I got to see this surgery in particular because my current workload consists of seeing many patients recovering from Knee Replacements. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal about the rehabilitative process and what it takes to be successful.

Although outcomes are good and success is likely, no one wants surgery – it’s a last resort.

That said, if you struggle with knee pain, there’s good news. There are steps you can take to improve your mobility, strength, and function to delay and, sometimes, bypass surgery altogether.

Let’s take a look at what the knee replacement surgery looks like, who needs one, the outcomes, what the rehabilitation process looks like, and – most importantly – the steps you can take to, hopefully, never have to get one…

What Is HIIT and Is It For You?

Benefits of High Intensity Interval Training

Physical Therapy with HIIT

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – sounds intense doesn’t it? I used to be skeptical of HIIT and whether the claims of its benefits were actually true. Could someone really achieve the same aerobic gains in half the time? Was it safe? Was it only for top-level athletes in a sports science lab? I was skeptical – that is, until I scoured the literature. What I know now, I can share with you and, hopefully, better guide you toward your health and fitness goals.

Let’s look at what HIIT is, its benefits, and how it compares to other types of exercise. We’ll also look at some sample workout regimens and see if HIIT is right for you…

What is Frozen Shoulder and Can You Prevent It?

Woman With Frozen Shoulder

This morning was the first time you couldn’t reach the cereal bowl in the upper kitchen cabinet – you’ve been struggling for a couple of weeks, but today you had to use your left arm. You’ve been having trouble putting on your shirts – coats require help from a friend. You’ve been waking up more and more each night from the pain. You might have Frozen Shoulder.

The Plank: How To Do It Right

Are You Getting the Most Out Of Your Plank?

Plank Exercise how to do it right

If strengthening your core is of any importance to you, there’s no doubt you’ve attempted a plank once or twice. I try to incorporate some form of a plank at least once per week – it has become a staple in my exercise toolbox. The beauty of the plank is that it works multiple abdominal muscles while putting very little stress on the lumbar spine. It’s also easy to do – you don’t need any equipment and it gives you that burn in your abs that hurts so good. It’s simple and effective.

There’s more to the plank, though, than meets the eye. It’s more than just holding a straight position for as long as you can.

Although you’re likely already reaping the benefits from your efforts, there are a few tweaks you can make to maximize your benefits.

Here’s some suggestions to make sure – from head to toe – you’re getting the most out of your planks.

America’s Opioid Crisis Ends With You and Me

We Are The Problem and the Solution

Opioid Painkiller Crisis

There’s an opioid crisis going on in America and most of us don’t even realize it. With increasing reports of chronic pain over recent years, Americans are searching for something to take the edge off. The easiest, most convenient solution? Opioids. The problem? We’re consuming more of them than ever before.

6 Reasons You Should Exercise With Other People

Plus 20 Activity Ideas

Cycling Group Exercise With Others

Do you enjoy exercise? The word ‘exercise’ seems to have so many negative connotations, doesn’t it? It makes me think ‘hard work’, ‘pain’, and ‘routine’. But when you stop and think about what you do enjoy about exercise, oftentimes you focus less on the pain and more on the fun activities: walking with your spouse, playing pickup basketball, surfing, Zumba class, Yoga, CrossFit. Most of the time, these fun activities include other people. It turns out regularly exercising with others can benefit you in many ways. Here are 6 of them…

The Truth About What Motivates You

Plus 3 Motivation Tips For Fitness

What Motivates Marathon Runners

Motivation is everything. Without it, you wouldn’t be where you are today – taking steps to enhance your body, mind, finances, relationships, etc. Or maybe you’re like me and some of these areas in your life have become stagnate. Maybe you’re looking for ways to improve but can’t seem to muster the energy, focus, and perseverance. Have you stopped to examine what actually motivates you?

For our purposes here, let’s put motivation in the context of exercise and fitness. You’ve likely experienced times when you’ve been unable to stick to an exercise routine or diet, right? We tend to blame it on any number of things: lack of time, too expensive, too hard, not fun…

On the flip side of the coin, you’ve also been a part of an exercise program or sport that you completely rocked. You’re teaching that yoga class now. You’re on your fifth half-marathon. You’ve been playing Sunday morning hoops for fifteen years straight. You walk 3 times per week, rain or shine.

What makes the difference? What does it take to motivate you?