What to expect at your first visit?
If you have an injury or pain, you will want to come to physical therapy either with your doctor’s referral or through direct access (see direct access blog). After you have scheduled your one-hour long appointment with one of our doctors of physical therapy, you will arrive at our clinic. You will want to wear clothing that is comfortable and gives your physical therapist easy access to the injured body part.
The first visit is called the initial evaluation. You will fill out paperwork that will give the PT a quick synopsis of your pain. After the paperwork is completed, your PT will bring you back to a private treatment room. Your PT will begin the subjective portion of the exam. This is when he/she will ask you questions and you will tell them about your pain/injury including what hurts, what helps, what activities are limited and your goals.
The next portion of the exam is the objective exam. Your PT will exam your posture, balance, gait, palpation tenderness, strength, range of motion and functional activities. He/she will perform specific special tests to rule in/out specific injuries or conditions. Your PT will gather this information and come up with a physical therapy diagnosis. At this time, he/she will have a good idea of the best course of treatment for your specific injury. Your PT will share the diagnosis with you and your course of treatment.
What about the next visits?
Each injury and each person are different so your rehab will be tailored specifically to you. You will be given specific home exercises to perform at home. Your home program is just as important as your follow up visits. Your home exercises will maintain what you have gained in PT and help you recover faster.
Based on your evaluation and doctor’s referral (if you have one), your PT will develop a plan of care, which includes how many visits per week and how many weeks. For some cases, more visits in the beginning of your care will provide faster results with a slow taper until your discharge. At your follow up visits, you will be asked how you felt after your previous appointment and any other important information since you were last seen. This will help guide your treatment for the day. Follow up visits will consist of specific therapeutic exercises, education, and hands on (manual therapy) techniques from your PT. We will constantly check in on you during your session to make sure you are performing exercises correctly and that you are not in pain. We are here to help and appreciate questions during this process!
How long will I be in physical therapy?
Since each injury is different, each recovery is different. Your physical therapist will be able to give you an estimate of your plan of care at the end of your initial evaluation. Most patients are seen 2-3 times a week and slowly taper down to become more independent. Each appointment lasts 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Physical therapy is geared towards helping you with your current condition. However, we will give you tools and resources to help keep the pain away and/or manage the pain in the future. Our goal is to help you achieve your own personal goals.
If you have any other questions, give us a call. We look forward to treating you in the future!