***So, if you’re like me and have been prescribed PT and OT for your chronic pain and/or illness, how do you get through it without feeling like this:
1. Make sure your physician understands your illness.
A rehabilitation plan should be under the “supervision” of a physician. In the beginning I was under the care of both a physical medicine specialist (physiatrist) and an neurologist. Later on, a rheumatologist joined my treatment team. All understood my diagnosis and at least most of my limitations. As a result, my treatment plan was always being modified to try to obtain the most improvement without causing regression.
2. Rest after your exercise.
Don’t go straight home and try to do what you couldn’t do during your treatment sessions. If you do, then you end up in bed until it’s time for your next treatment. For a time, I felt like I had gotten into this pattern. My doctors helped me to realize that I had to go at a pace that I was comfortable with both at therapy and in between treatment sessions.
3. Be honest during your evaluation by the rehabilitation professionals (physical, occupational, and speech therapists) before you start any treatment.
Tell them what you can and can not do. Tell them what hurts and exactly where the pain is. Otherwise, their treatment planning will not be what it should be.
4. Be honest during treatment.
If you feel sick or if it hurts too much, say so. Stop when your body tells you to. But, on the other hand, if you truly feel up to it, try to do more than the minimum that is expected. You don’t know how far you can go until you try. And after you give it an honest effort, it’s okay if you have limits and can’t do more. Never feel embarrassed or ashamed of what your body will not let you do!
5. Do your exercises at home but don’t overdo it.
I do exercises everyday that I brought home from my last series of PT treatment. They are mostly stretching and some stationary cycling. To be able to do the exercises correctly, my rheumatologist advised me to limit my other activity. I have trouble walking because of both balance issues and muscle atrophy and weakness. I have “tendonitis” all over my body. Just getting up and down requires effort and the little walking I do is difficult. So, he recommend my using a wheelchair almost all of the time. But, he also recommends that I do my simple exercise program every day.
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