Things Physical Therapists Wish Every Patient Would Say

If you are having pain or difficulty moving around after injury or illness, you may benefit from the skilled services of a physical therapist. Your PT can help you regain strength and range of motion to improve your functional mobility and manage your pain.

While the physical therapy profession can be very rewarding, there can also be challenging times. Sometimes patients fail to make progress despite the best efforts of everyone involved in the plan of care. Some patients lack motivation and require significant amounts of energy and encouragement to simply participate in an active rehabilitation program.

When attending physical therapy, there are some things that you should say that can really make your PT happy, (There are some things your PT does not want to hear as well.)

Physical therapist guiding man pulling resistance band
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Things to Say

Here is a list of things your physical therapist wishes every patient would say when they come to the physical therapy clinic.

  1. "I did my home exercise program." Your home exercise program is an important part of your physical therapy program, and doing it shows your physical therapist that you are committed to getting better. Even if you are receiving PT services in the hospital, your therapist may prescribe bedside exercises for you to do. Do the exercises, and proudly tell your PT how they went.
  2. "Teach me how to prevent future episodes of pain." Your physical therapist is a movement expert who can help you move better and feel better. He or she can also teach you strategies to prevent future problems with movement. By asking your PT for prophylaxis and prevention strategies, you are telling him or her that you are motivated and committed to working hard to continue moving better once your rehab is finished.
  3. "My condition is changing." Your physical therapist wants to know how your physical therapy is affecting your condition. Are things getting better? Tell your PT. Even if your condition is getting worse as the result of your exercises (it happens), it is changing. That tells your PT that your condition is treatable. The most challenging patients to treat are the ones whose condition is not changing for the better or worse. That means your PT needs to get back to the drawing board and try to figure out a way to make a positive change in your condition.
  4. "Thank you." Your physical therapist will work hard to help you get moving again after injury or illness. Sometimes the work can be challenging. After each PT session, a simple word of gratitude can go a long way in making your PT's day. Even if your condition does not improve during rehab, showing thanks for your physical therapist's effort can be rewarding to your PT.

Remember, your relationship with your physical therapist should be a therapeutic alliance--both of you should be working together to improve your functional mobility and reach your rehab goals. You should feel that you can have an open and honest conversation with your PT about your condition.

If you are attending physical therapy, be sure to work hard, stay motivated, and work with your PT to maximize your time together and improve your chances of a speedy recovery. Try saying some of these phrases to your PT. You may just make your therapist's day a little better by doing so.

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