Home Exercises, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Have you ever had the wonderful experience of outpatient physical therapy?  I can almost hear the silent chuckle…yes, it actually can be a wonderful experience.  A hard experience? Yes.  An unforgettable experience?  Definitely.  I’m going to share a secret that all therapists know, and only some patients end up realizing; the ones who do usually remember their experience in a much more positive way than those who never quite get it.  Who knows, if you take this advice to heart you may even one day describe your therapy experience as “wonderful”.  Drum roll please…you have to actually do the exercises that are assigned to you by your therapist.  Those 3 wonderful little letters, H-E-P stand for home exercise program and will make or break your therapy experience.  Yes, it may take up some time daily.  Yes, you may need to rearrange your routine to make sure you can get them in.  Yes, your therapist knows when you don’t do them regardless of what you tell them.  There are 168 hours in a  week (7 days), you will most likely spend 2-3 hours of that time in physical therapy doing specific exercises tailored to your deficits.  So why do you have to go home and do them more?  Do the math.  You are spending less than 2% of your entire week working on your recovery.  If you really want to improve your condition, it’s a no brainer; you HAVE to spend more than 2% of your week dedicated to making yourself well again.  So next time you’re thinking about skipping it all together, or  complaining about how long your “HEP” takes, think about it objectively.  How much is your recovery and your health worth to you?

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