Your Home Exercise Program or HEP for short is the “homework” your physical therapist gives you to help you increase your recovery. Your physical therapy treatment goes hand-in-hand with a home exercise program and both are essential in making your rehab more effective. There is research that says only 35% of physical therapy patients participate in a home exercise program. Those other 65% are missing out on the multiple benefits of this critical part of their treatment plan.
BENEFITS OF A HOME EXERCISE PROGRAM
Your home exercise program is essential. Home exercises are the foundation of an overall successful physical therapy program. These are three immediate benefits.
- Increase the productivity of clinic visits. You can do foundational exercises at home, and then do more advanced therapeutic exercises and manual therapy techniques at the clinic.
- Continued progress. Every visit to the physical therapist is a step forward, continue that momentum at home.
- Relieve pain quicker. You may be able to regain function sooner and relieve pain sooner.
The primary factor, as with any new routine, are the barriers encountered; motivation, scheduling, and perception of progress. Let’s tackle these.
The recovery process is easier for patients when they have a direct goal, like walking without a cane, being able to climb the stairs or getting on a horse or motorcycle. For some, the goal may just be to relieve pain. These goals can propel you forward. Focus on the outcome as your goal—especially if you want to reach that outcome sooner.
This is the second biggest challenge to a home exercise program. The best way to overcome this is to look at your daily or weekly schedule ahead of time and find the gaps that you can temporarily schedule in an at-home physical therapy session. A helpful tip is to associate at-home exercise with something you already do; like getting ready for bed or before you shower in the morning.
PERCEPTION OF PROGRESS
Without a therapist there to encourage you at home, it may be hard to detect your progress. Do not let this discourage you—if you follow the program, you are making progress. You are doing better than those other 65% of patients that DON’T participate in at-home physical therapy at all.
IN A NUTSHELL
Home exercises are the cornerstone of a successful physical therapy program. Home exercises can reduce the likelihood of setbacks in physical therapy and can sometimes be the beginning of a brand-new active lifestyle. Some patients continue to exercise long after they recover.
Renew Your Body, Reclaim Your Life!