Why Should I Make Physical/Occupational Therapy a Priority?

Many patients dread the commitment to treatment after experiencing a hand or orthopedic illness/injury. You have to take time out of your schedule to see a doctor, maybe two or three in some cases; go through your course of treatment, whether that is a one-time visit, an injection or surgery; and then you need to recover. After spending days in pain, hours at the doctor and perhaps a decent amount of money, it’s no wonder why many patients are uninterested in the thought of physical or occupational therapy. However, the therapy step can make all the difference in your recovery! Here we’ll show you why attending physical or occupational therapy is an essential last piece to your recovery puzzle.

Post-Surgical Results

Compliance with doctor’s/therapist’s orders is crucial to post-surgical recovery success. A procedure may fix a physical problem, but without patient compliance with the aftercare plan, there is risk of re-injury or the possibility of a new complication. Your body needs time to recover after surgery. During that time, the affected area tends to become weaker while other parts of the body make up for what’s lacking. Consider a broken leg; one leg is in a cast, not being used, becoming weaker. Your other leg compensates since more weight is being bared on it. Perhaps you are on crutches, so your arms and shoulders are also being used to overcome the leg injury. In this case, physical therapy would be used to help the weak leg become strong again, all while avoiding injury to your healthy leg, arms and shoulder that are now under more stress than usual.

When it comes to hand conditions, occupational therapists work hard to ensure that your hand will return to maximum functionality. After surgery, your affected hand may be tight, swollen, weak and overall just might not work how it should. Considering we use our hands every day in nearly everything that we do, you can see why having proper hand functionality is so important. Occupational therapists work with their patients to not only regain strength in the hand, but also grip, stability, bend in the fingers and range of motion in the wrist.


Recovery takes time. Depending on the procedure, a hand injury requiring surgery can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks to recover from, which can be even longer if you experienced an orthopedic issue. Generally, occupational or physical therapy can start anywhere from 1-4 weeks after surgery and therapy lasts another 3-6 weeks. While this time commitment is inconvenient, it’s short in the long run. Considering you will be using your injured hand, shoulder, knee, hip or whatever it is for the next several years, taking a few weeks to recover properly is really not that long.

You may also be thinking, “the long term commitment isn’t what bothers me, it’s the amount of time I have to take away from my work/family at each therapy session”. While therapy does take time, sessions might not be as long as you think. Depending on your injury and timeframe, therapy sessions tend to last about an hour and occur 2-3 times a week. Your therapist will likely recommend stretches or exercises to perform at home as well, but those typically take less than 10 minutes and can be performed anywhere!


One of the biggest concerns and reservations our patients have about coming to therapy is the cost. Patients have just suffered a debilitating injury or illness and have had medical bills associated with recovery; they’re not looking to take on another large expense. Luckily, Motus does some homework for you! Attending therapy requires a prescription from your physician to be covered by your health insurance. On average, insurance covers anywhere from 75%-100% of your therapy visit (no including any insurance co-pays). At Motus, we research your insurance benefits and let you know what your possible investment may be prior to starting therapy. When it comes to splinting and bracing, some insurances will cover custom pieces and some won’t. If you do not have coverage for a device, we can help find a prefabricated option within your budge that will work for your needs!

No one wants to experience an injury and attending Physical or Occupational Therapy might not be the most convenient experience. However, participating in therapy can make a huge difference in your recovery and post-injury functionality. If you’ve experienced a debilitating illness or injury, contact Motus to see if physical or occupational therapy is right for you!

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