3 Ways To Know You’re On The Road To Recovery….

Amanda Gomes

People come in to see a physiotherapist for a multitude of reasons, but often one of their main concerns is pain. Feeling pain creates a fear that there may be something wrong and we move into “rest and protect” mode in order to avoid worsening pain. Certainly, pain cannot be ignored and can be an important symptom to monitor and look for improvements as a way of measuring progress. However, there are times that patients will return to the clinic for a physiotherapy follow up and their overall pain has not improved.

This is a perfect time to open a dialogue and understand that there is more to rehab than focusing on pain as a measurement for success.
Here are 3 ways to know that you are on the road to recovery….

  1. IMPROVED FUNCTION: Success can be returning to our regular activities (ie. Walking to and from work or being able to grab a cup from the top shelf of a cupboard)
  1. REDUCTION IN MEDICATION: Success can be a reduction in the use of medication to manage symptoms. Though as physiotherapists, we cannot provide advice on medication, we know that medications have a place in rehabbing from an injury and must be considered. For example, a decrease in need for NSAIDS or pain medication can be a clear improvement even if symptoms have persisted but have not worsened.
  1. IMPROVED MOBILITY AND/OR STRENGTH: Your physiotherapist has assessed your ability to move and often has an objective measure to return to on reassessment. (ie. At your initial visit, your shoulder moved 90 degrees when lifting out in front of you and now you can reach to 120 degrees). These are changes that can be hard to recognize day to day as the patient but can be a great way to look for improvements over time with your physiotherapist.

In conclusion, it is important to work with your physiotherapist to make goals for your rehab. Try to avoid focus on one singular item as the recipe for success. Setting short- and long-term goals and working to attain them can be a great way to look at your progress as you move through the rehab process.