I have my Home Exercise Program, now what?
Once a patient has received a prescription for physical therapy, the patient’s first appointment consists of an evaluation with a Physical Therapist. During this evaluation, muscular and structural ailments are noted and an exercise program is developed to address the noted deficits.
While these exercises are performed and progressed in the clinic, it is common practice for a therapist to provide the patient with a home exercise program (HEP) to allow them to complete the exercises at home. Typically, therapists instruct patients to perform this program one-two times daily in addition to their attendance at physical therapy. As one would imagine, compliance with this plan is an issue. Many patients do not understand the purpose and believe that in clinic therapy should be enough.
Let’s discuss why HEP’s are vital to overall success in physical therapy.
- Home Exercise Programs assist in correcting deficits noticed during the evaluation.
As stated, during the evaluation the PT takes note of key deficits and constructs an HEP to improve them. However, because patients typically only attend PT two-three days a week for about an hour or two, it is very unlikely that true, sustainable rehabilitation will be obtained. The HEP serves as a supplemental, vital component to achieving true wellness and thus should be performed consistent with instruction during and after completion of PT in order to achieve maximum results.
- Assist you in creating a lifestyle of wellness management
Have you ever committed to an exercise plan and stayed consistent for only the first week. What happened? Typically it is easy to get excited about beginning but as life continues other priorities began to take precedence. What would happen if you had a trainer assisting you, motivating you? You might be more consistent. This is how therapy works with HEP’s. The time while attending PT can assist you with developing a habit of performing exercises at home with the motivation and expertise of a therapist each week. As a result, upon discharge you will have a consistent habit of managing your wellness and thus one step toward a life of overall health.
- Strengthens your body to decrease the possibility of future injuries
Upon discharge, patients number one concern is having to return due to re-injury. While this is possible, managing wellness through the consistent completion of HEP’s during and after therapy greatly reduces this risk. Completing the HEP will strengthen muscles, increase muscular endurance while positioning your body for proper return to normal daily and recreational activities.
In conclusion, while adhering to an HEP may not be the most fun aspect of attending physical therapy, it is one of the most important and is imperative to receiving the greatest benefit.
So, the next time you leave JPT, don’t forget to take your theraband and put those weights to good use.
Blog Contribution By: Brittany Hogan, LPTA