- Kristin McNealus, DPT, MBA
Rehab Is A Process…
It is not going to be a quick fix; it’s important to know this going in. Most of physical therapy is about working on the imbalances in the body. You may have had a surgery that caused some muscles to be weak, or you have pain from movement patterns that you did not even realize were not balanced, or you fell and hurt yourself. Whatever the cause, the PT will determine which muscles need to be strengthened.
It takes 3 months for a muscle to gain strength, so know that it will take at least three months for the weak muscles to get stronger. Physical therapists give boring home exercises that do not seem to be doing much… but those exercises are trying to target the muscles that need to get stronger, without pulling in muscles that are already strong and doing the work. You can see how this would perpetuate the issue for which you are seeing the PT.
I know that the exercises are boring… it is difficult to get people to do their exercises between sessions, and PTs get equally as frustrated when you are not progressing toward your goal. It is going to take time and effort for you to heal your body; try to have a plan to do your exercises.
Just as there are weak muscles in that imbalance, there are also strong muscles that are likely tight. They will need to be stretched. Your PT should help you do this. Your muscles and joints need to be able to move through their range in order to be as strong as they can be; flexibility should also be a part of your physical therapy routine.
I am a physical therapist who goes to PT. It is a humbling experience. I do my 10 minutes of prescribed exercises most mornings when I wake up (4-5 days/week) and I stretch most nights before I go to bed. It can certainly feel frustrating when changes are slow. I also would rather spend my time doing a more fun workout routine. I will add something I enjoy after my 10 minutes, so that I know the weak muscles have been targeted. Stick with it! It is your body, and it will be worth it.