What a Physical Therapy Session Looks Like
If you’ve never worked with a physical therapist before, you’re probably not familiar with the rhythm of a typical session. As with any doctor’s appointment, there are things you can do to prepare for your visit with the therapist. Every session is personalized to fit your specific needs, capabilities, and pain points. Before meeting with your physical therapist, it’s important for you to think about what you want to achieve.
Your therapist will work closely with you to make sure your session aligns with your individual goals. It’s often helpful to keep a notebook around or use an app on your phone to make notes any time you’re struggling with a particular type of movement or experiencing excessive pain from your RA.
How Physical Therapy Can Improve Your Life
Physical therapy is designed to help you perform your everyday tasks more comfortably and efficiently. You can ask your physical therapist to help you with nearly any activity, from getting in and out of the car to reaching items on high shelves. Your therapist will help you find a better way to execute these movements and show you how to practice it.
Your physical therapist can also help you master various exercises that may help with your RA. Any type of regular physical activity will help you manage RA, but focusing on specific therapeutic exercises will help you maximize your results.
How to Get the Most from Physical Therapy
It’s important to understand that your physical therapy session isn’t designed to be the one and only time you practice these exercises. Your therapist is only there to teach you the motions and check in periodically to make sure you’re still performing the exercises or activities correctly. You must incorporate the exercises into your everyday life to achieve real results.
Incorporating New Strategies in Your Life
Physical therapy is a powerful tool for helping you manage your RA, but it will only work when you take the time to adjust your daily life accordingly. If your physical therapist shows you a new way to move items at work, make sure you’re consistently following this routine. Plan ahead so you can do your exercises during the part of the day when you have the most energy. If you suffer from fatigue with your RA, include breaks in your schedule, as well, so you’re not too burnt out to follow through with your therapist’s suggested activities.
RA can leave you stiff, swollen, and in pain. Loss of function is a common problem with RA, but you don’t have to simply settle on giving up your favorite activities or letting go of your autonomy. A licensed physical therapist can help you retain control of your life so RA doesn’t control you.