What do Patients Need to Know about Physical Therapy?

10/23/2017

Fear plays a big part in work injuries, and can often be detrimental to recovery. Injured employees worry about the unknowns – how long it will take to recover, if they’ll get hurt again, and the impact to their home life. The last thing they need is something else to fear, like an unfamiliar treatment.

If your injured worker has never been to physical therapy before, it may seem intimidating. From the basics of what physical therapy is to what to expect during their appointment, here’s what your employees need to know about physical therapy.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a treatment process that helps improve or restore mobility and reduce pain. It uses physical exercises, heat, and massage to get the body back to where it was before the injury. 

Physical therapy can be used to treat:

  • Trauma-related injuries
  • Repetitive use and overexertion injuries
  • Orthopedic injuries
  • Pain and functional limitations caused by medical or chronic injuries

What to Expect for the First Visit

The first physical therapy visit is a chance for both the patient and physical therapist to learn more about what the treatment process will look like. the therapist will design a treatment unique to the patient and their injury, so they will come into the visit with a personalized plan.

In preparation for the visit, all your injured employee needs to do is dress comfortably and bring any questions they may have. It’s important for them to feel comfortable and confident during physical therapy. The therapist will answer any questions your employee may have about the treatment and the recovery process.

In an ideal injury care program, the physical therapist collaborates with the treating physician to understand what the injury is, how it occurred, and any other information gained during the initial injury visit. With this background information, the therapist will use the first visit to get a better understanding of the injury’s impact. They’ll ask questions about the pain and functional ability, then perform a physical examination to test the patient’s range of movement.

After the introductory questions and tests, treatment will begin. Treatment can include different exercises, equipment, and a home exercise program.

Home Exercise Program

In addition to any follow-up visits with the therapist, the patient will receive a personalized home exercise program to complete. The combination of scheduled therapy visits and at-home exercises is key to a fast, full recovery.

Just like treatment with a therapist, a home exercise program is customized specifically for the patient and their injury. Continuing treatment at home gives the injured worker more control over their recovery, and helps them get better faster.

At Concentra, patients will have access to their home exercise program online. They’ll get 3D animations of each exercise so they can see exactly what needs to be done. Their therapist will also give them a handout about their treatment program, including reasons why they chose different exercises.

 

Physical therapy is a team effort between the therapist and patient, so your injured worker should have nothing to fear when they start their treatment. If your workers have any more questions about what to expect, send them to our website or encourage them to reach out to their physical therapist.