Dr. Rachel Wilkinson, PT, DPT is a physical therapist and certified CrossFit instructor with MovementX in Portland, OR.
How Long Will I Need Physical Therapy?
Advanced physical therapy can relieve pain, improve mobility, support injury recovery, and so much more—but because of its diverse uses and patient individuality, the length of recovery and treatment can vary considerably.
This means there is no precise equation for how long you will need physical therapy, but the good news is, you can learn more about advanced physical therapy treatment timelines and how your MovementX physical therapists and personal trainers will help you achieve your maximum ability possible.
Indications You May Need PT
Advanced physical therapy utilizes rehabilitative physiotherapy techniques to help decrease your pain and stiffness while also improving your strength, balance, and range of motion. Common reasons you might look to work with a physical trainer or therapist include injuries, illnesses, or medical conditions that influence your normal movement and everyday function. Simply put, you are having difficulty doing what you want to do!
Variables that Affect Your Treatment Timeline
The type of injury: Was this a traumatic injury? Overuse? What tissue is affected? Was surgery performed?
Duration: Is the injury acute or chronic? If the pain has existed less than 3 months, we consider it acute. More than 3 months and it is classified as chronic.
The body’s natural healing process: Age, nutrition, sleep and lifestyle can influence treatment timelines as well.
Your effort: Often, the more consistent you are with your instructions from your physical therapist or personal trainer, the faster your recovery time will be.
Your goals: Some patients want to be able to do their normal daily activities without shoulder pain, others want to return to high level sport pain-free.
Your advanced physical therapy treatment plan is designed to help you make a full recovery and get back to your prior level of function. For minor injuries, this might be only a handful of sessions, whereas soft tissue injuries may take four to eight weeks, and chronic or more serious conditions can take upwards of 1 year.
Everyone and every injury is unique and heals differently. Your healing timeline is impacted by many factors. You will see the following ranges are expanse. This demonstrates the importance of considering all influential factors before predicting a prognosis.
Here are some general guidelines for healing times:
Muscle: 2 weeks- 3 months
Tendon: 4 weeks – 1 year
Bone: 6 weeks – 4 months
Ligaments: 2 weeks – 1 year
Cartilage: Unlikely to fully heal, but this doesn’t mean PT cannot rehabilitate you!
Your fitness trainer or physical therapist will work with you to strategize a personalized plan developed with your needs and goals in mind. This might include in-home physical therapy a few times a week, or maybe you’ve progressed to a preventative session once a month. With MovementX, your physical therapy journey will be uniquely your own, and it will grow and develop with you as you achieve your movement goals.
A crucial variable in your recovery timeline is caring for your body outside of your advanced physical therapy session. Your PT will provide you with specific instructions for your home program through in-depth education on your specific injury. You may be spending 1-2 hrs weekly with your PT, but it’s the countless hours outside of PT that are going to make the difference in your recovery.
Your physical therapist will prescribe tailored exercises for you to practice at home that will provide stimulus to your tissues to aid in recovery, decrease pain and improve your impairments. Your compliance will help keep you on target towards your goals.
In your initial evaluation, your PT will discuss how much rest is appropriate for your injury and how to modify painful movements or postures. Sometimes they will also recommend modalities such as heat or ice to aid in your recovery and decrease pain.
Take Care of Yourself
Eating well, drinking lots of water, and prioritizing sleep all seem like small things, but they add up to improve your prognosis. Your mental health and attitude play a big part in how you tackle your treatment plan and can make a big difference in your overall recovery.
How long you will need physical therapy is a conversation you need to have with your medical professionals. Several factors go into determining your treatment plan, and sometimes, it’s ultimately up to your body.
Dr. Rachel Wilkinson is a physical therapist and certified strength and conditioning coach with MovementX in Portland, OR. She works with people of all ages and specializes in the treatment of runners, weightlifters, CrossFitters, and pregnant or postpartum individuals. Rachel Wilkinson also helps people recover from shoulder, hip, and pelvic pain with a comprehensive treatment approach around education, hands-on therapy, and exercise.
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