Guidelines for successful physical therapy

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — If you are recovering from surgery or a serious injury physical therapy can be a long and daunting process.

After taking a wrong step in late 2017, Sameer Limaye was paralyzed from the waist down and went through a complicated and painful surgery.

“Disc herniation is common and the only symptoms I had was back pain,” he says. “I lost the memory of how to stand and walk. It was a complete loss of memory.”

For nearly 2 years, he’s been learning to walk again through Bon Secour’s inpatient and outpatient rehab programs and is making giant strides.

“I like working out, so I took this as a challenge and I keep pushing myself,” he says.

Limaye’s physical therapist says one of the biggest reasons he’s been successful is his positive attitude and patience.

“A nerve recovers about an inch a month,” physical therapist Cathie Joyce says. “So if you think from the waist down to his foot, he’s apt to see improvement in his feet for even 2 years.”

Therapists say doing routine exercises at home is extremely important in outpatient therapy.

“Set a time for yourself,” Joyce says. “Say ‘this is the time I’m going to work on it.’”

For example, Limaye goes to outpatient therapy sessions several times a week at 10am, so on the days that he does not have a session, he still stretches and does exercises at the same time at home.

Another key to success, doctors say, is setting a goal. 

“Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do,” says Amy Robbins Cantillion, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician at St. Francis. “We tend to talk about ‘Oh, I can’t do this, can’t do that,’ but I always say focus on what you can do now that you couldn’t do a month ago, and that keeps you going.”

For Limaye, that goal was to make it to his son’s soccer practices and play sports with his kids again.

“All I have to do is keep trying and some day I’ll get it,” he says.

Bon Secours St. Francis offers a myriad of rehabilitation services and also recommends aquatic therapy for back injury management.

Joyce recommends that everyone, even those not undergoing physical therapy, stretch his or her hamstrings three times a week to prevent injury.

To submit a question for our series, click here. You can also hear from experts at Bon Secours St. Francis on this topic and others every Saturday morning at 10am on 106.3 WORD radio. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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