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So You're Done With Physical Therapy ... Now What?

If you've had surgery or chronic pain, chances are you've seen a physical therapist. But sessions don't last forever.

Lower back pain, knee pain, neck issues, shoulder discomfort, surgeries — all of these circumstances may lead to physical therapy. These healthcare professionals use a variety of treatment techniques to improve mobility, reduce pain, and restore function. But physical therapy eventually comes to an end. And while you may feel great, you have to continue to care for yourself and your body.

Are You in Pain?

Depending on the issue you saw your PT for, you may or may not still have pain. Ideally, you won't or at least your pain level has been greatly reduced. How you feel will play the major role in where you go from here. If it's still severe, you need to see your doctor about another round of therapy. If it is better, speak to your doctor about what to expect from this point on.

Be Honest

Did your therapist give you exercises to do on your own? When they released you from therapy were you given guidelines on how to continue care on your own? A lot of people think that once therapy is done, they can go about their business. However, once you've had an injury or surgery you may have to change how you workout on your own. Or, even if you don't exercise regularly, you still need to care for your body to avoid a relapse. Follow those instructions!

Ease Back In

You've finished therapy, got clearance from your doctor, but that doesn't mean that you can pick up where you left off with workouts. If you were out of commission for weeks or months, it may take that long to get back to where you were. The less severe the issue, and shorter amount of time away from workouts, you are probably going to get back to it sooner rather than later. Take it slow, listen to your body, and follow the instructions from your doctor and therapist.

Hire a Knowledgeable Trainer

Half of all Americans experience some sort of pain that lasts more than three months, and trainers have to know how to modify workouts. Some trainers may even have certifications and experience dealing with chronic pain or various musculoskeletal issues. Do your research and find a trainer that can help you get back on track with your workouts in a safe, effective manner.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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