So your doctor has sent you for physical therapy. Maybe this is a way of managing an ongoing condition, or perhaps it's a treatment to help your recover from an injury or surgery. In any of these situations, there are some things you can do as a patient to ensure you get the most out of each physical therapy session. 

1. Tell the physical therapist about your health history and past injuries

If you suffered any injuries in the past or if you have had any orthopedic surgeries in the past, make sure you share these matters with your physical therapist. Be sure to also tell your therapist whether these previous injuries ever still bother you or if you have any other ongoing symptoms. They will be careful not to recommend or guide you through any exercises that may aggravate those past conditions

2. Work with your physical therapist to set goals

In some cases, the goals of your physical therapy may seem clear from the get-go. For example, if you've just had shoulder surgery, your ultimate goal may be to restore full functionality in your shoulder. But it can help you to also set some shorter-term goals for each session and for each month. Your goal for each session can be to do a little more than you did last time. Your physical therapist can work with you to determine what a reasonable goal might be for your first month of therapy and then your second month of therapy.

3. If you have to miss an appointment, reschedule it

In a perfect world, you would attend each and every physical therapy appointment as scheduled. But if something does come up and you can't make an appointment, work to reschedule it, rather than canceling it altogether. If you don't reschedule, you may actually backslide on progress as you'll be going twice as long as normal between appointments.

4. Tell your physical therapist what you're feeling

Your physical therapist will rely on feedback from you in order to know what exercises are working, how much harder they can push you, and so forth. Make sure you are forthcoming with this feedback. Don't always wait for them to ask you questions. If something hurts, say so. If an exercise seems to be really making a difference, tell them that too. The more you are able to verbalize to your physical therapist, the more they'll be able to help you.

With the tips above, you can get more out of your physical therapy sessions and hopefully make progress much faster!