How to stay motivated after an injury
After a serious injury, illness, or surgery, recovery may come slowly. You may need to regain strength, endurance, range of motion and functional mobility through physical therapy.
Therapy requires intensive activity to bring the body back to its previously healthy condition and it can be a tiring and discouraging process. While immediately visible results rarely occur, the hard work of recovery is indispensable in returning to normal function. But so is finding a way to stay motivated to finish your therapy treatment plan.
Dr. Juan Valdez, physical medicine and rehabilitation at Advocate Trinity Hospital in Chicago, says, “One of the main things we use to motivate patients is to educate them on the importance of continuing therapy in order to reach their full recovery. Sometimes patients will complain about pain or not being able to tolerate the therapy. We encourage them to work through it by giving them the big picture of what they can and will accomplish.”
Keeping the ‘big picture’ in mind when motivating yourself is crucial, he says. Here are some other tips to keep you on the road to recovery.
- Track your progress
When you begin physical therapy, your therapist will likely perform an initial evaluation where they will collect information about your injury and condition. Ask your physical therapist to educate you to what measurements they take and what those mean. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Physical Therapy, only 30 percent of patients are fully compliant with their plan of care—a plan that works to hasten their recovery time.
- Find a friend
During your physical therapy journey, you may notice other patients who are completing similar exercises to your own. They may even have similar injuries. Strike up a conversation with another patient, and you may find that they help to motivate you to stay involved in your own rehabilitation, and you can motivate them in return.
- Motivation through music
Music can be a great motivator. Often there is music playing in the background in the physical therapy clinics. Ask your physical therapist if you can bring in your own music to play while you are receiving treatment. They may allow you to listen to the music that provides motivation and some music therapy.
Recovering from an injury can be difficult, Dr. Valdez says.
“Your progress may be slow, and it may be tough to keep your spirits up to continue,” he says. “But working closely with your physical therapist, you can find the motivation to stay active and focused during your recovery process.”
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