When you seek out a physical therapist to assist you with your pain or help you progress to the next level of your sport/training you will first have an assessment completed by the PT. The assessment is an opportunity for the physical therapist to review your history and look at your mobility, strength, balance, etc to determine where deficits lie that may be playing into your pain or limitations.
Once the PT completes the assessment, she is able to take these results to help you create a plan to meet your goals; this is called your Plan of Care.
Coming up with Your Plan of Care
Based on the length of time it should take to increase your strength, mobility, balance, etc along with other aspects the PT will consider and determine how frequently you are able to be seen weekly to determine a final amount of time that they estimate to get you where you want to be.
Aspects that play into the determination of length of time required to meet your goals include:
Level of weakness,
Decreased postural and/or core control
Psychosocial aspects (ie. transportation, other commitments, finances, stress, etc).
All of these combine to give the physical therapist an estimate of how long to expect you need to work together.
I think I Can Do My PT at Home.
I have heard it time and time again when patients tell me they were going to physical therapy and all they did was a few exercises that they felt they could just do at home and save the time and money spent going to the clinic. I always explain to them that this physical therapy will be different.
First of all, you may think that you can do your PT at home, but you should be receiving cueing and physical touch to guide you to activate the correct muscles and utilize the right posture while performing your exercises so that you are making gains.
Secondly, I am a believer that most people can benefit from manual therapy which is when I get my hands on you to help facilitate proper motion of a joint or muscle prior to giving you exercises to help you maintain whatever we gained.
If you feel like you aren’t receiving these benefits in your physical therapy, then you need a new physical therapist. Doing your exercises at home only is not the solution because you may be doing them incorrectly or not have the joint mobility or range of motion to complete them without pain. Click on this link to check out my post "Debunking the Myth that Physical Therapy Doesn't Work."
How to Know if You’re on Track for Your POC
There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing if you are progressing or on track to meet your goals within the plan of care your PT set up for you. It can be very defeating to not know where you’re at on the timeline or if you are even getting the gains that you need to in order to make it to where you want to be.
I provide each person with ongoing mini assessments and monthly progress reports to let them know where they are at and how they are progressing on the timeline to meet their goals. You should be seeing progress regularly as well and feeling better with your movement, activity without pain, and skill level.
It’s Time to Set Your Plan of Care & Smash Your Goals!
So tell me, do you know your plan of care? Do you know how long it will take to meet your goals? Are you discussing your progress weekly with your PT? Are you receiving the proper hands on and cueing techniques to help you make gains?