Did anyone bother with New Years Resolutions for 2021? Just making it out of 2020 seemed like an accomplishment enough. Still, there’s no better time for a fresh start than right now. So if you’ve got any nagging injuries that you’d like to address, or even if you want to get in better shape, consider setting some physical therapy goals for the new year.
Setting goals when it comes to physical therapy can be particular to your particular circumstances. It all depends on the nature of your injury and how that injury is affecting you. Do you have shoulder pain that keeps you from reaching overhead? Are you an athlete with a torn ACL? Are you stuck in bed with lower back pain? Whatever the trouble, your first goal is relatively easy:
Goal #1: Determine What You Want
That’s right; your first goal is to set a goal. Often this revolves around function. These should be realistic, attainable goals related to how you want to live your life. They might include:
- A return to the sports field or work
- To walk without fear of falling.
- To sit without pain
- To take a jar off the shelf and open it.
Physical therapy goals might also relate more specifically to an impairment:
- Restore a joint’s full range of motion
- Ease the pain of arthritis
- Regain strength in an injured muscle group
- Return to a healthy body weight
Once you’ve decided what you want, your next goal is to figure out how to get it. Depending on the nature of your goal, this often means seeking professional help:
Goal #2: Make an Appointment with a Physical Therapist
In this time of COVID, it hasn’t been as easy to see a Physical Therapist as it once was. While regarded as an essential service, access to physical therapy can still be limited due to the usual concerns about viral contagion. But with precautions, in-person PT is available. Likewise, you might be able to find telehealth options. However, for many conditions, physical therapy is by necessity a hands-on process, where the doctor will need to see, feel, and manipulate the injured area to diagnose and treat your problem.
However, you get to it, working with a physical therapist can be an invaluable step toward reaching your goals. Sometimes just one visit is enough. A PT will be able to give you a program of exercises to follow—shoulder exercises you can do at home, for example—that will put you on the path to full recovery. Sometimes, though, you might need repeat visits so that the PT can work with you on various exercises and measure your progress.
Goal #3: Compliance
This step is critical for reaching your first physical therapy goal. If you want to see improvements, you need to follow your physical therapy program. If your PT gave you a list of physical therapy exercises to perform, you need to perform those exercises: take that prescribed walk around the block, stretch those resistance bands, use that shoulder pulley.
This is not about no pain, no gain. It’s more of a use it or lose it situation, so you need to stay motivated. These exercises shouldn’t hurt beyond a moderate bit of discomfort at most. So, perform the exercises and keep an open communication line with your physical therapist so the plan can be adjusted as progress (and any unfortunate setbacks) are taken into consideration.
Goal #4: Make New Goals
You don’t want to overdo it at first. Your initial goal should be realistic and attainable, as we said above. Once you’ve reached it, though, don’t just sit around relaxing on your laurels. You have two concerns now:
- Maintain the progress you’ve made. You’ll want to continue some form of exercise or treatment to at least prevent the corrected problem from returning.
- Find something new to improve. Maybe you don’t have any more specific injuries that need healing, but there’s always room for more general health and fitness. It’s time to set new goals to improve your overall strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility. If gyms are still not an option, there are plenty of live virtual workouts to choose from.
PrePak Helps You Meet Your Physical Therapy Goals
When it comes to physical therapy, we know what it takes to get the most out of your treatment. Our at-home physical therapy products make it easy to complete your workout just like you would with your physical therapist. If you're ever unsure about an exercise or movement, we have plenty of instructional videos to help guide you in the right direction. Please browse our products today to start working towards a healthier 2021!