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What is a Home Exercise Program?

A home exercise program is a set of exercises recommended by a physical therapist or doctor to be performed by a patient in their home. The physical therapist will go over each exercise in detail with the patient to ensure the exercise is done correctly. Instructions will also be provided on how to progressively increase the intensity of the home exercise program to improve strength and function.  

Benefits of a Home Exercise Program

  • Doing the exercises regularly at home will improve muscle memory, ensuring proper form when learning new exercises.
  • Doing the basic exercises at home allows the physical therapist to perform other treatments such as massage therapy or advanced protocols during the physical therapy sessions at the office.
  • You may regain strength and function faster with a home exercise program. 
  • You will be able to avoid potential complications after surgery.
  • The home exercise program will help promote a healthy and active lifestyle. 
  • Continuing with the home exercise program even after full recovery will help protect against recurrence of the injury or disorder in the future.

Consequences of Nonadherence to a Home Exercise Program

Nonadherence to the prescribed home exercise program can result in recurrent injuries, flareups of pain, and negative outcomes of treatment or surgery.

Barriers to Adherence to the Home Exercise Program

Barriers to adherence to a home exercise program include:

  • Worsening pain when doing the exercises
  • A baseline of low physical activity
  • High anxiety and stress levels
  • Lack of motivation

Strategies to Increase Adherence to the Home Exercise Program

Adherence to the Home Exercise Program can be improved by the following strategies:

  • Proper patient education that some amount of pain and discomfort is to be expected
  • Informing patients about signs and symptoms that can indicate a future injury
  • Emphasizing that over time the pain will become less, and function will improve
  • Employing motivational techniques to encourage compliance
  • Setting realistic short and long-term goals regarding a return to routine activities