5 Reasons to Bring Your Significant Other to Physical Therapy

Photo of a physical therapist examining a patient while another person looks on.
Should you bring a friend or significant other to your PT appointments?. Susan Chiang/Getty Images

If you are suffering from an illness or injury that limits your ability to engage in your normal activities, you may benefit from the skilled services of a physical therapist to help you move better and feel better.  Your physical therapist will work with you to improve the way your body moves so you can get back to your previous level of function.

When you attend physical therapy, there are some things you should do to prepare for your initial appointment (and your subsequent follow up appointments).

 These may include:

Some people like to bring a friend, spouse, or significant other to their physical therapy appointments.  If you are having difficulty moving around or driving, your companion can make sure that you get to the PT clinic safely.

But should your spouse, friend, or significant other go into the PT clinical area during your appointment?  Should someone else be with you while you are exercising, receiving treatment, or working with your PT to improve your mobility?

Here are 5 reasons that you should bring your significant other to your physical therapy appointments. 

  • To provide motivation: Your spouse may be able to motivate you to work hard during physical therapy.  Like a motivating quote or a good song, he or she may provide the necessary drive so you can tolerate slight temporary pain or discomfort during your treatment.
  • To act as a second set of eyes and ears: Your physical therapist will likely prescribe a home exercise program (HEP) for you to do to to help you achieve your personal rehab goals.  A written HEP can help you remember what to do, but having a partner there to learn the exercises you should be doing can ensure that they get done properly at home.
  • To help with your exercises:  Some exercises may require an extra set of hands to be done properly.  Your spouse, partner, or friend can help you get your PT exercises done if you need help.
  • To be sure you get your story straight: One of the first things your PT will do upon meeting you is ask you questions about your condition.  How and when did your problem start?  How is it changing?  How do your symptoms behave and what have you done thus far to try to help yourself?  Keeping track of your own condition may be difficult, and your partner may be able to provide some insight about your current condition.
  • To help you get home after a vigorous therapy session: After performing your PT exercises, you may feel exhausted.  When you're injured, simple exercises can fatigue a muscle group, and this may make moving around after PT difficult.  Having a spouse, partner, or friend with you can ensure that you get to your car and home safely after physical therapy.

Your physical therapy sessions should be something you look forward to--you and your PT should be engaged in a therapeutic alliance to help you move better and feel better.

 Adding another person to the mix may disrupt this relationship.  One reminder: be sure to check with your PT to make sure it is OK to have someone accompany you in the clinic.  Some physical therapy clinics may not allow multiple people in the clinic during sessions to maintain adequate medical privacy or to prevent the clinic form filling up with spectators.

If you are injured or ill and are having difficulty with your normal functional mobility, you may benefit from working with a physical therapist to help you restore your normal range of motion and strength to get back to you normal activity.  Bringing a friend, spouse, or significant other to your PT appointments may help keep you motivated, keep you moving, and help you reach your full potential in physical therapy.

Related: 4 Reasons to Leave Your Spouse at Home During PT

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