Though it is a modern science of physical recovery, physical therapy traces its roots back thousands of years. The age-old practice of rehabilitative exercise has been revolutionized over the past couple hundred years. Modern anatomy, kinesiology, and physiology have given us the tools to break down complex recovery processes into a step-by-step science.
For many, physical therapy is a real lifesaver. It gives people the tools and techniques to heal after surgeries and injuries, shortening the recovery process and making healing manageable.
At the same time, for some, physical therapy seems to be a far cry from what it is made out to be. If you’ve ever gone through physical therapy and felt like it simply doesn’t “work” this blog post is for you. In fact, it might be that physical therapy itself is not to blame. Here are three of the most common reasons physical therapy doesn't provide the desired results.
1) Lack of Feedback
Similar to aging or growing our hair - we don’t always notice gradual changes until they’re blatantly obvious or clearly visible. Recovery is a healing process that occurs in stages, and oftentimes, slowly. This can be difficult and demotivating, at times causing patients to end their treatments prematurely. You may not always notice the ability to lift an additional quarter pound of weight or an additional 10 degrees of flexibility. Getting accurate and immediate feedback on how you're doing going about your day-to-day is crucial for your sense of accomplishment and for seeing the real progress you're making - minimal or otherwise. This is something that is impossible to communicate without an appropriate technological solution. OneStep’s 24/7 constant feedback capability was designed with the patient in mind, so you can always see how they’re doing. Even when progress is slow or minimal, the patient knows and is subsequently more empowered to continue in their recovery.
2) Lack of adherence to the recovery plan
The recovery process can be challenging. Sometimes, we wish there was a magic solution, and instantly all our pains would be gone. But, in truth, recovering from injury requires consistency for weeks or months, sometimes even years. While Physical Therapists are trained in creating a plan for every patient's recovery, in order for physical therapy to work - the patient has to stick to that plan. Doing the exercises on and off or forgetting to do them for long stretches of time can mean that even the best recovery plan won't work and you won’t see the desired results. It's essential for every person going through the process of recovering from an injury to understand that consistency is a critical ingredient in the formula of success.
3) Lack of knowledge of how to perform exercises
Even if we are more than willing to do the exercises our physical therapist prescribes, if we lack the proper knowledge of how to do them or forget exactly what was shown to us in the clinic, the benefit we derive from performing the exercises is greatly diminished. Each exercise is designed to specifically target and activate specific muscles. If we perform an exercise incorrectly, we might inadvertently activate other muscles or place stress on the muscle we are trying to ease. It is of paramount importance for every person recovering from injury to make sure that they properly understand how to perform the rehabilitative exercise they've been assigned. By performing an exercise correctly, physical therapy can support the healing process. When performed incorrectly, frustration may ensue at the lack of progress being made. Make sure you talk to your PT about reference documentation/resources you can refer to as you perform your prescribed exercise at home.
Using OneStep's mobile app-based digital physical therapy platform, these common hurdles can be addressed. OneStep offers ongoing PT consultations with licensed physical therapists, along with instant feedback on gait progress and a library of exercise resources. OneStep turns any smartphone into a 24/7 motion analysis lab to build the optimal recovery journey for each patient. By providing real-time, easy-to-understand feedback, we put patients in control of their recovery and equip therapists with the clinical evidence they need to make the right decisions every step of the way. Our highly-personalized recovery plans break down traditional physical therapy sessions into bite-sized daily exercise routines that our patients can do anytime, from anywhere.