Physical Therapy Home Exercise Program: What, Why, How and What’s next?

What is your home program?

After you complete your physical therapy evaluation your Doctor of Physical Therapy will provide you with your home exercise program that will compliment your plan of care. Your home exercise program is a combination of exercises skillfully organized by your doctor to help you achieve your goals established at your evaluation. 

At MOTI, we use a program called Physiotec, where you will be provided an individualized link with your program that has been customized to you. In that program you will be provided with a video of your exercises, description of your exercises and frequency of how often to perform your exercises.

Example of what your home program will look like from MOTI:

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Why is your home program important?

The frequency of in person physical therapy is determined at your evaluation, but usually is around twice a week – where the real work comes in is at home! Adherence to your program helps you achieve the goals you have established with your doctor quicker and maintain your gains beyond your discharge.

I was having the hardest time trying to find a way that I could continue to work after my herniated disk. I found that sitting was really painful as well as standing or reclining. Megan then suggested alternating between sitting, standing and lying down, and it was a game changer! I sit until I start to feel some discomfort, and then I stand until I start to feel that same discomfort coming back. After about two rounds of this rotation, I lay down for about 20 minutes. From doing this, I have realized that a lot of my pain was coming from staying in one position (or trying to stay in one position) for too long. I can now also see that reclining in a chaise style seat was causing a lot of unnecessary pain. From moving my body through those three positions (sitting, standing, and laying) I feel that I have escaped the belief that I can’t get comfortable. I can, it just takes some adjusting! –MOTI Patient Alexandra

How do you make your home program a habit?

A challenge that is commonly faced among patients is making the commitment to their physical therapy plan of care, and then the further realization of the necessity to commit to their home program. 

I don’t have enough time in my day?

Be open with your doctor from the start about how much time you have available to do your home program. One major component to success is knowing you can achieve the goals that are being made with you. As your doctor we want you to be successful, we want you to be able to adhere to your program and get back to feeling pain free and stronger than you were before injury!

*Format reference Atomic Habits, by James Clear. 

What’s next? Transition from physical therapy rehab home program to work out program

I get asked by a lot of my patients as they are progressing through their plan of care and getting back to their recreational hobbies and exercises, what can they do to strengthen their core, legs or upper body. My response is you’re doing just that! Typically, the intermediate and advanced exercise progression you are starting to have in your physical therapy plan of care are exercises I (and other Doctors of Physical Therapy) perform in our own daily workout programs to improve the strength, endurance and mobility.

Physical therapy after my knee surgery (ACL, Meniscus) was an eye-opening process for me. My main goal was to get back to surfing, my favorite sport. To protect and rehabilitate my surgical knee, my therapy worked on both of my knees, but also core, back, ankles, hamstrings; everything that played a supporting role in strength and stability. This whole body approach enabled me to “pop up” quicker on my surfboard, stressing my knee less, and I was able to return to surfing after about 1 year. And yes, I’m the guy in the wetsuit doing my hip CARs and child’s pose before I hit the water. It really makes a difference for me and reminds me to use my new technique. After being “released to the wild” and cleared to surf again by my physical therapist, I stayed on with her as a personal training client. I found that it gave me the confidence to keep pushing my recovery and work through minor setbacks as they happen; and they will. It’s also extremely helpful that she knows the history of my injury and recovery. The transition was seamless, and the continuity of care ensures that my process is optimized for my personal situation. -MOTI patient Duke

After hip surgery I spent almost a year working with Megan at MOTI. The exercises she taught me have been integral as a pre-run warmup. At this point in my life I must “pre-hab” before I can jump into running or other sports, and these movements provide that base warmup that I need. -MOTI patient Zach

At MOTI Physiotherapy each Doctor of Physical Therapy will use their expertise to customize a plan of care that will help you achieve and maintain your goals you established at your evaluation. If you are in need of Physical Therapy please contact us!

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