The importance of a home exercise program combined with physical therapy treatment cannot be stressed enough. There are 168 hours in a week, and for most patients, only 2-3 hours are spent in physical therapy. In other words only 1.5% of waking hours are spent in physical therapy. For patients with movement disorders, the rest of those waking hours are often spent slipping back into the poor movement patterns that originally caused the pain.
Recent research has shown that only 35-72% of patients adhere to their home exercise programs, yet in patients with chronic low back pain, 94% of patients that continued with their home exercise program maintained gains from physical therapy, even a year after completing treatment. These results illustrate the importance of maintaining and complying with your home exercise program in order to prevent a re-occurrence of pain.
Here are 5 tips to improve compliance with your home exercise program:
Be honest with your physical therapist. If there is an exercise that you do not like or think you will do at home, let the therapist know or have them explain the importance and relevance of the exercise.
Set goals, such as activities that you want to return to, and ensure that your exercise plan is geared toward getting you back to those activities.
Communicate with your physical therapist. If you are having a difficult time completing a specific exercise, ask the therapist to demonstrate or to substitute a different exercise.
Ask for pictures, instructions or videos of exercises in case you forget how to complete them.
Develop a personal strategy to complete your exercises and hold yourself accountable in order to improve your pain and your health.
At John Goetze Physical Therapy, we know that a home exercise program will help you get better and stay better. We will help you get on the road to recovery!