After an injury or surgery, it is quite common to find your ability to move is limited, or that you have less functional strength and mobility than you had prior to the event. Often in these cases, your general medicine doctor will prescribe physical therapy to help you re-learn proper movement patterns as well as regain your strength, flexibility, range of motion, endurance, and general physical independence.
When faced with your first physical or occupational therapy session you may experience nervous or excited emotions due to the fact that this will be a new experience for you. However, you will soon learn that therapy sessions typically consist of a lot of strenuous, physical work. The procedures, treatments, and exercises you undergo while in therapy may be strenuous, and at times even mildly painful. Here are five tips for staying motivated to get through your therapy sessions.
Motivation is a complex subject, but in short, everyone is motivated differently based on their genetic, social and cultural backgrounds. While something may motivate you, it may not necessarily motivate other people as well. The important thing is to understand specifically why you want to undergo therapy. Do you want to restore your mobility and regain your independence? Do you want to rehab that knee and get back to your favorite sport? Focus on what you hope to get out of therapy and set that image as an end goal.
Finding the Right Therapist
One of the biggest factors of your success will be your relationship with your physical therapist. While it is important to know they have the proper education, licensing, and qualifications, you should also get a feel for their bedside manner. Will they encourage and motivate you? Do you feel a positive connection with this person? If someone does not seem to be a fit with you, feel free to continue interviewing other physical therapists.
Monitor and Track Your Data
Your first session with a physical therapist will likely include an initial evaluation where they study your condition and take several measurements regarding your strength and mobility with the affected area. Your therapist should explain to you what these measurements detail about your condition, and what your goals should be for each measurement. Ask your therapist to keep you involved with tracking your progress, by giving you a copy of your results after each session. This alone will do wonders for your motivation.
Find a Partner
Typically when you are undergoing therapy, you will meet other people with conditions or therapy programs similar to your own. When this happens, it may be helpful to strike up a conversation and build a relationship with this person. Even if you simply shoot each other an email or text every day to see how things are going and offer motivation, will keep you both accountable to your therapy routine, and keep you inspired to work hard.
Motivate Yourself with Music
Anyone who has ever worked out knows that listening to music can help you maintain motivation and work through the pain when the exercise gets tough. Feel free to discuss bringing your own music and headphones to your sessions with your therapist.