First Time Going to a Chiropractor? FAQs to Ask
So, you’ve sustained an injury, and your doctor or other provider has recommended physical therapy as a component of your rehabilitation.
How long will you need to be in physical therapy?
Unfortunately, there’s no precise answer to this question. Everyone is different, and your rate of progress and expected time in physical therapy will depend on a number of factors.
However, there are a few rules of thumb for determining how long physical therapy might last. It’s also important to know when you should finish up with physical therapy.
Therefore, we’ve provided a guide with general guidelines for how long physical therapy can and should last, how you’ll know when it’s time to discontinue physical therapy, and a few other tips to keep in mind as you progress through your recovery.
The length of time you’ll be in physical therapy depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to:
Generally, physical therapy consists of 1-2 sessions each week lasting 30-60 minutes, in addition to at-home exercises your physical therapist will likely recommend both while you’re in physical therapy and after you have stopped going.
Although there’s no way to predict exactly how many weeks you’ll be in physical therapy, the following guidelines can be considered a general rule of thumb:
Knowing when physical therapy should stop is actually the most important determinant of how long you’ll be in physical therapy.
When you start a physical therapy program, you should work with your physical therapist to set specific goals, and continue therapy until these goals have been met. Some signs that it might be time to stop physical therapy include:
You are the best person to evaluate your progress, as only you know how you’re experiencing pain, and what level of functioning you possess in everyday life. When you notice one or more of the above, talk to your physical therapist to discuss whether you should discontinue your program. Your physical therapist will help you develop a plan to transition to a home exercise program, and set guidelines for when a check-in appointment might be necessary.
If you haven’t met all of your goals for rehab, this is okay. You’ll be able to continue working independently towards your goals with your at-home exercise program.
Sometimes physical therapy must come to an end because your insurance company will only pay for a certain number of sessions. In this situation, your physical therapist may be able to work with you to set up a payment plan for continuation of a physical therapy program. If you aren’t able to do this, it will be important to make a good discharge plan to continue working on your rehabilitation at home.
To make sure that you get the most out of your physical therapy rehab program, there are some other important things to keep in mind:
Physical therapy is an important means of recovering from many different injuries. You can make the most out of your physical therapy by making sure that you understand what’s going on, sticking to the program developed by your physical therapist, and talking to your physical therapist if problems come up.
About the Author:
Dr. Singer has been a practicing chiropractor for more than 20 years, and USA Health & Therapy has been around since 2004. Over the course of his career, Singer has helped tens of thousands of people with all kinds of issues by using a wide variety of treatment strategies. He has extensive knowledge of chiropractic modalities, including Gonstead, Diversified, Thompson Drop Table, and Activator, and in 1997 he earned a special adjunctive Chiropractic Certification in Spinal Trauma (CCST) to better provide care for car crash victims. Dr. Singer is licensed to practice chiropractic medicine in both Florida and New York.