Home Exercise Programs: Why you should listen to your therapist!

Fotolia_35115100_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x199If you have ever been to a physical therapy session your physiotherapist likely gave you a home exercise program, or HEP. A physiotherapist creates home exercise programs specifically for each individual patient given their specific injuries and limitations. This is to be performed anywhere from 3-7 days per week depending on your condition and limitations. The home exercise program is a way for patients to take an active approach to healing in order to decrease the amount of time they have to see us, and to increase the recovery process.

We give home exercise programs to our patients not just as a token of our appreciation for you visiting us, but to help you… help yourself… get better!

Unfortunately you are probably not a professional athlete who can see us on a daily basis for 2 or 3 hours. A typical patient is seen around 60 minutes, 2-3 times per week. This equates to 120-180 minutes of treatment by a skilled physiotherapist for an entire week. Did you know that there are 10,080 minutes in a week? You do now.  Which means that if you do absolutely nothing outside of your physiotherapy session, you are spending at most 1.7% of your week to help heal your injury.  This is not enough – we do need a little help from you, the patient!. If you choose not to do your home exercise program you could be prolonging the injury and potentially causing more damage. For example, a patient who injures his or her shoulder, comes to see us with just a painful and sore shoulder, and then develops frozen shoulder! Why? Likely because the patient stopped using it due to pain, didn’t do their home exercises, and relied solely on the physiotherapy sessions to heal.

Fotolia_57714935_Subscription_Monthly_M-300x199A home exercise program is a vital part of your recovery and healing process. It is an extension of your physiotherapy visit and should be performed as directed no matter how routine, difficult, painful, time consuming, or (insert other excuses you may have). This is your injury. You have to live with the pain and/or limitations it brings upon your life. As physiotherapists we are here to help you to the best of our knowledge and abilities, but we also need you to play an active role in your own recovery.  If you have questions on your home exercise program you can always ask. We should have a solid answer why each and every exercise we gave you is important and are always more than willing to modify it to improve your compliance. And trust us, we hear all the excuses why patient’s don’t perform their home exercise program. But there are always ways you can make time for it. If you have kids, involve them. If you don’t have time, do one or two of the exercises in the morning and one or two at night. The exercises we give you likely will not take much time and usually do not require any special equipment. So if you are finding yourself giving yourself excuses talk to us about it. Likely we will be able to make a home exercise program that will work for you and your lifestyle.

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