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Johns Hopkins Health - Try This at Home

Fall 2013
Issue No. 22

Try This at Home

Date: October 15, 2013

Try This at Home

With physical therapy, you often get out what you put in—at your scheduled sessions and at home, too. Aaron Keil, P.T., DPT, OCS, outpatient rehabilitation manager at Johns Hopkins, explains why

I’m going to physical therapy three times a week. Is there more I have to do?
Most likely, yes. The take-home message for our patients is there’s a pretty good chance we can help you get out of pain, but we don’t want to see you again in six months for the same thing. Addressing the root cause of the problem typically involves making some changes outside of the clinic, such as how you lift things or how you manage stress.

So, I need to do exercises at home?
The vast majority of patients, regardless of why they come to us for physical therapy, will get some form of daily homework, usually in the form of stretching or exercising. We work with our patients on trying to fine-tune what they used to enjoy and maybe set it as a goal to get back to.

Sometimes my therapy stretches are painful. Is that OK?
Therapists spend a lot of time educating people on the reasons behind what they are being asked to do. This includes what kind of pain is considered normal during physical therapy—along with encouragement that it’s worth enduring to achieve their recovery goals. Therapists also teach people what kind of pain is cause for concern. It’s all part of helping patients speed their recovery and prevent future injuries.

Why is learning what not to do important?
If you have low-back pain, for example, we want to figure out the causes of that pain to help prevent it from recurring. That’s why we suggest that people who have pain or ongoing discomfort, but haven’t been prescribed physical therapy, come for at least a one-time consultation. A physical therapist spends an hour with the person to provide insights not only into what’s wrong, but, more important, how he or she got that way and what should be done to fix it. The next steps depend on what kind of therapy the person needs—either at home or working here with us—and how motivated the person is to get better.

For more information, appointments or consultations, call 877-546-1872.

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