Ask An Expert: How Should I Feel After Physical Therapy?

How should I feel after physical therapy? Is it going to be painful?

Physical therapists have gained a little bit of a reputation when it comes to pain. If you’ve been through physical therapy before, chances are you initially felt like treatment was making things feel worse. BUT, if you stick with it, the gains and improvements come with time.

We, as therapists, are focused on a number of things including, but not limited to, increasing your endurance, balance, flexibility, and strength. All of those things require prescribing specific exercises almost like you would do in a gym. Improving strength is only achieved by putting an adequate amount of “stress” on a muscle group which, in turn, causes some ache, fatigue, and soreness.

That being said, the level of soreness you feel after therapy should not interfere with your daily activity. Your physical therapist will constantly be checking in on how you felt after all activities. Ask questions if you aren’t sure if what you’re feeling is normal. You’ll hear a lot of people say “no pain, no gain,” but the real saying is “consistency over intensity.” Keep your bodies moving and stay healthy!

Kim Rea, PTA