After her second fall, your mom’s doctor recommends that she start working with a physical therapist. Her balance isn’t the best as she gets older, and arthritis pain only makes it worse. Before her first session at a physical therapy office, ask these questions.
How Will Physical Therapy Help Her With Balance?
Physical therapy incorporates exercises that your mom does to improve balance and muscle strength. It helps strengthen the joints, too. She’ll work on these exercises with an expert in the musculoskeletal system.
Physical therapists undergo medical training that focuses on the ways bodies move and how the muscles and joints work, while also managing pain through electrical stimulation, massage, and the use of hot/cold compresses and over-the-counter pain relievers.
Don’t expect one appointment to be all your mom needs. She’ll often work with her physical therapist for weeks or months to build stamina, strength, and balance.
What Will Happen During the First Appointment?
The initial appointment is the one where the physical therapist assesses your mom’s flexibility, movements, and endurance. They’ll discuss her pain levels and when pain occurs most often. A plan to ease pain and build strength is established.
How Often Will She Return?
After the first appointment, your mom’s physical therapist will discuss the frequency of her appointments. This may be adjusted if your mom progresses faster or slower than expected. Everyone is different, so it can take a few appointments to get a good idea of how much time is really needed.
How Much Work Will She Need to Do at Home?
Your mom will have exercises she has to do at home. It’s critical that she does the exercises at home to continue to build strength and flexibility each day. She may find them painful, but she has to push through the pain and keep going.
Will She Need Someone Spotting Her While She Does Them?
Find out if your mom will do the exercises on her own or if she needs someone spotting her. It’s often safer to have someone there just in case. As her balance improves, it may be unlikely that she needs someone nearby.
Can She Have Physical Therapy Services in Her Home?
Some physical therapists make house calls. If your mom has a hard time getting to a physical therapy office, she might be able to get visits at her home. It’s always important to ask this if you believe it will make her more likely to attend all physical therapy appointments.
Physical therapy is important when it comes to fall prevention, especially when your mom has fallen before. Once you have more input into what her physical therapist can do and how often she’ll go make sure a plan is in place to get her to each appointment and to encourage her to work on the exercises at home.