Part of our mission is to guide engaged patients. What are traits of an engaged patient? Engaged patients are ready, proactive, accountable, savvy, discerning and willing. But ultimately, they have a goal. Helping your physical therapist know and understand your personal goals is the key to achieving them.
That means communicating early and often about your limitations performing the activities that are most important to you. With this knowledge, we can adapt our approach and individualize aspects of the treatment plan to ensure that you meet your goals.
“What’s Your Goal for Physical Therapy?”
This is one of the first questions we’ll ask after you tell us your story. A common response?
Let’s avoid that confused look. We’re here to help you define your goals before you arrive for your first appointment.
Share Your Goals, and Your Obstacles
It’s a routine part of our job to work with you to reduce pain and to improve strength, range of motion, balance and mobility. We’ll address these things during your treatment no matter what. But, if you return home to unload the dishwasher and realize that you still can’t put the dishes away, that’s a problem.
We don’t know everything that’s important to you—or the obstacles that you face—unless you share that information with us. One strategy is to bring a list to your first therapy session of the activities that you participate in that are most important to you. To take it a step farther, whittle that list down to one main goal. That can give you something to focus on in therapy—and motivate you to keep showing up. You’ll also feel more inspired to do the home exercises that we custom design for you. Understanding that the exercises aren’t just busy-work, they’re specifically crafted to help you achieve your goals.
Finally, as with all goals in life, the more specific, the better.
Ideas to Get You Started:
“I want to. . .
. . . be able to do ____________ (activity) without pain.”
. . . know which muscle imbalances are causing pain in my __________ (body area).”
. . . get rid of the numbness and tingling in my __________________ (body area).”
. . . walk without limping for ___________ (distance or time).”
. . . be able to sit or stand for _____________ (time) without pain or fatigue.”
. . . know the best exercises I need to be doing for _____________________ (activity, or known deficit).”
. . . improve my posture and learn the exercises I need to continue to maintain it.”
. . . feel confident knowing the ways I can manage pain in my _________________ (body area).”
. . . be independent in my home doing __________________ (functional activity).”
. . . stop the sensation of the room spinning when I roll to the ________ (right or left) side.”
. . . take the best care of my health by having an annual check-up of my musculoskeletal system.”
Examples of Specific Goals:
- A father of three injured his Achilles tendon: “I want to be able to walk my daughter down the isle for her wedding in 3 months without limping.”
- A grandmother fractured her wrist: “I want to be able to lift my grandchild into the car seat without feeling weak and without pain.”
- A woman recently had her first child: “I want to know the safest exercises to retrain my abdominal muscles and hips and to learn how to hold my baby without causing neck and upper back pain.”
With involvement on both sides, we’ll individualize your therapy sessions to specifically guide you toward meeting your goals. After all, we want nothing more than for you to THRIVE.