Most injury victims are good and honest people who simply want to heal and have their lives go back to normal. You may be tempted to skip your follow-up medical care once you are discharged from the hospital, eager to go back to work and put the accident behind you. Unfortunately, failing to attend all of your appointments—including physical therapy—can come back to bite you when you attempt to collect injury compensation.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Physical Therapy Appointments
First, skipping physical therapy appointments is bad for your health because it extends the length of your recovery time. If you decide to stop physical therapy prematurely, you run the risk of re-injuring yourself, forcing you to start the recovery process from square one.
Second, failing to finish the full course of treatment can hurt your injury case. An insurer may claim that since you stopped going to physical therapy, your injury must not have been as severe or painful as your claim suggests. Always attend your appointments until your therapist agrees that you will no longer see the benefits of continued therapy.
If your doctor orders physical therapy for pain or an injury, you should:
- Listen and learn. Your physical therapist should educate you on the mechanics, anatomy, and potential long-term effects of your accident injuries. They work with you to develop a treatment plan aimed at improving your muscle strength and flexibility, range of motion, gait, and balance.
- Aim for a collaborative recovery. Your therapist may manipulate the injured parts of your body to encourage the soft tissues to stretch or relax. While they know how to stretch your body without injuring you (and can get you into positions that would be difficult or impossible for you to do on your own), always tell them to stop if it’s too painful.
- Do your homework. Your physical therapist may send you home with a list of stretches and simple movements to perform a few times a day. These may be painful or uncomfortable, but they may greatly improve your range of motion and reduce the chances you will suffer arthritis.
- Express your goals. Your treatment plan isn’t just about mending a broken leg or getting you walking again. It should be specifically tailored to your lifestyle and activities, making sure you are able to do the things that make you who you are. If you want to be able to play a certain sport, drive long distances, or meet the physical demands of your job, tell your therapist so they can focus on those goals.
- Don’t try to rush it. Your physical therapist will know if you have been overdoing your activities. Follow the treatment plan and pay attention to any restrictions on movement or lifting. You are literally only hurting yourself if you attempt to recover too quickly.
- Celebrate milestones. Physical therapy can go on for months, and it’s easy to feel as if you aren’t making progress. Your therapist should set out a few short-term goals on the path to your long-term goal and focus your attention on how far you have come rather than how far you have to go.
- Communicate your concerns. If you have chronic pain or stiffness, make sure your therapist is aware of it so they can devise ways to relieve the discomfort at home. Any long-term complications should also be noted in your medical records to give the judge in your case a clear picture of how your injury continues to impact your daily life.
If you have been hurt through someone else’s negligence, you need your own personal injury trial attorney by your side to get you the compensation you deserve. Simply fill out our online contact form or give us a call at (615) 807-7900, and the legal team at GriffithLaw would be honored to fight on your behalf.