Reasons Why Your Physical Therapy Patients have Plateaued

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Reasons Why Your Physical Therapy Patients have Plateaued

We are all committed to helping our patients get the most out of therapy. Whether from injury or surgery, physical therapy is a crucial step in the process of getting things back to normal However, what can you do when one of your patients is putting in the work but no longer seeing results? Here are 3 reasons why you might see a standstill in your patient’s recovery.

Outdated Therapy

Science and studies have come a long way in the past few years. Many traditional treatments have been proven to be less effective or have even been debunked entirely. With new options coming out on what seems to be a weekly basis, it is important to keep up to date with the latest trends. Learning, for a physical therapist, doesn’t end once they graduate from school. There are many online seminars and additional classes that are offered around the country teaching the latest techniques. By offering your clients the latest in therapy and research, you are setting them up for success and continued operative results.

Failure to Continue Exercises Outside of Therapy

Many patients do well in maintaining their exercises from home outside of their normal sessions. However, some either don’t try anything at home or are incorrectly performing the exercises. There are a few ways to combat this behavior. One of the best things to do is to take time at the end of any therapy session to do a quick run through of the exercises and stretches you expect them to do independently. After the session, email them an outline of the exercises you just went over so they don’t forget. It is also important to follow up at the next appointment. Have them show you which exercises they have done. Many times, they are doing it incorrectly and this is the root of why their healing has stalled.

Stopping Therapy Too Soon

One last, and maybe one of the largest issues, is when a patient either quits physical therapy too soon or is discharged early. Although the latter is usually not the case, it is important to note that it does happen. Many patients tend to get discouraged when they don’t see immediate results. It is crucial to explain to them that healing is a process and cannot be achieved overnight or even in a few short weeks. There is also the flip side where a patient sees results fairly quickly and decides that therapy is no longer needed. It is important to stress that the entire goal is to help the patient return to their typical daily activities without risk of re-injuring themselves or relapse.

No one wants to see a patient not get the most they can from their physical therapy sessions. By avoiding these 3 common problems leading to a plateau in progress, both you and your patient will be able to achieve your goals.