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Behavioral Modifications

Behavioral Modifications

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What Are Behavioral Modifications?

When it comes to physical therapy, at-home care is incredibly important. The choices you make and activities you partake in outside of your appointments can positively or negatively affect your progress. How you move about in your daily life must be considered, in addition to your actual physical therapy treatments.

Therefore, your physical therapist may suggest behavioral modifications as part of your comprehensive care plan. Behavioral modifications are an essential part of your treatment, as they will help prevent the perpetuation of a current condition. This process involves identifying potentially harmful mental and physical behaviors and replacing them with more appropriate alternatives.

This will not only help you to improve quicker and be able to maintain progress between sessions better but will also help to prevent future complications. The changes implemented through behavioral modifications can be considered lifestyle changes, which help improve overall health in the long term. Some great examples of lifestyle changes you can expect to learn about during your treatment may include:

  • Posture and ergonomic training 
  • Stress and pain management strategies
  • Proper dietary fiber and fluid intake

You may need to implement these important changes at home and in your daily life regularly.

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Who Can Benefit From Behavioral Modifications?

Behavioral modifications are suitable for all patients who receive physical therapy. Your physical therapist will want to help you identify any behaviors that may hinder your progress throughout your health and wellness journey.

This can feel confusing or even frustrating since you may have been doing something a certain way your whole life; however, making changes to improve your long-term health may still be necessary. Let’s take a look at an example that will help you better understand why certain daily behaviors may need to be altered or substituted.

Let’s say we have a patient experiencing back pain when bending over. Perhaps this patient has a job where lifting objects is a regular activity. Proper form is essential when performing daily activities that include lifting, as improper form can cause injuries and pain. Without a change in behavior (in this case, using proper lifting form), this patient will continue to have back pain and may even create a more serious injury in the future.

The previous example was very specific, but behavioral modifications are necessary for various conditions. Patients who experience the following may benefit from this treatment:

  • Vertigo
  • Gait imbalance
  • Recent surgical procedures
  • Prolapse
  • Incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Joint pain
What to Expect From Behavioral Modifications

Behavioral modifications are just one treatment strategy implemented into a larger care plan. Here are some aspects of behavioral modifications you can expect to learn or practice:

  • Developing Coping Skills
    • Coping skills allow you to manage pain, deal with possible setbacks better, and handle emotional challenges during recovery. This may include relaxation techniques, stress management, and strategies to overcome perceived barriers to exercise.
  • Exercise and Activity Modifications 
    • Changing the patient’s habits or correcting their form during exercise to ensure these actions are safe will help set you up for long-term success. Patients may learn new ways to perform exercises and incorporate more healthy lifestyle behaviors.
  • Stress Management
    • Stress can be positive and negative, and it can be presented in many forms: physical, mental, and even emotional. It is important to recognize these stressors and how to modulate them appropriately. The physiological processes that respond to stress are similar regardless of the stimulus.  
    • Understanding how to minimize negative stress, such as scrolling on the phone, watching stressful TV, or working out at a higher level than your body is ready for, is just as important as optimizing and increasing good stress, such as performing appropriate cardiovascular exercises and stretching/strengthening to an adequate level.
  • Time Management
    • Accomplishing everything that you need to get done in a day is hard enough when you are feeling your best. However, doing this when you are feeling your worst is extra hard. In therapy, we work to highlight what is important and meaningful to you and then help you prioritize these things throughout your day; we will be your accountability partner throughout your therapy journey.  
  • Sleep Hygiene
    • Getting enough hours of sleep isn’t the only component of sleep hygiene. It’s just as important to be accountable for decreasing screen time before bed and adhering to a good sleep schedule, which includes going to bed and waking up at a similar time every day. 
  • Boundary Setting
    • Setting aside the necessary amount of time to complete your at-home exercise prescription is one of the most common barriers to success throughout your physical therapy plan of care. Often, having a provider who can help outline specific strategies to establish better boundaries with work and family will allow you to prioritize yourself during this health and wellness journey. 
  • Dietary Changes
    • Common foods can cause inflammation and irritation in an individual’s body. Highlighting these foods and helping the patient run experiments to see how they affect them will help with long-term improvement and well-being. 

Combined with other treatments, these modifications can help you maintain your progress and long-term health goals. Hive Therapy and Wellness, with our comprehensive care and experienced physical therapists, can help you better reach those goals.

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