The first physical therapist (PT) visit can be a little intimidating for individuals who have never visited! Here you are, possibly in pain and weakened by your injuries, and someone you have never met will be asking you detailed questions.
A physical therapist (like most other health care providers) will ask probing questions to understand your problem better and how they can help you get better and back to living your life the way you like. Therapists encourage open dialogue and active participation in your rehabilitation. We don’t want to do all the talking! This article will focus on the eight essential questions to ask your physical therapist at your first visit, which apply to various conditions.
- Do you commonly treat my condition?
You should first ask your physical therapist (PT) if they commonly treat your condition. The answer will provide you with information about their abilities and experience.
If the therapist claims to have little experience with your condition, this does not necessarily imply that they are incompetent. It may, however, reveal the need to find a PT with experience addressing your specific problem.
Physical therapists frequently specialize in various conditions and may have chosen to focus and get more educational training in certain areas (e.g., trauma, chronic illnesses, sports injuries, kids, geriatric patients, etc.).
Inquiring about their further training can help you understand their specialty, so make sure you do.
- What type of physical therapy will be offered for my condition?
During your initial appointment, the PT will ask about your particular problem, medical history, symptoms, lifestyle, therapy goals, etc. A thorough physical exam will also assess your test, neurological function, range of motion, and other factors.
The in-depth assessment will help the therapist understand your situation and develop a treatment plan. You should ask your PT what type of physical therapy will be provided to know what to expect and how your sessions will look.
There are treatments such as manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, balance training, pain modalities, massages, and others available. Treatments may also change depending on your progress, so you can get an outline of what changes may occur.
- How will physical therapy help me?
You’ve chosen physical therapy to get better, so it’s normal to ask how it will benefit you.
It is important to set ambitious yet reasonable goals and expectations to avoid disappointments and misunderstandings.
The PT should explain how the body works and recovers, how physical therapy affects your particular condition, and what the best and worst-case scenarios are. They should also provide an overview of what you can expect in terms of working, enjoying your hobbies, and so on.
- How many times a week do I need to come in to get results?
Knowing how much time you’ll need to commit to treatment each week allows you to plan your other activities accordingly.
Based on your condition and goals, the PT should give you an approximate time frame and a recommended frequency of weekly sessions.
- How long is each visit?
The PT should be able to tell you how long each session will last in advance. It can range from 30 minutes to more than an hour. Knowing the duration will help you mentally prepare for the sessions and arrange your schedule.
- When should I expect to see results from physical therapy?
Every patient is different, and the treatment goals should be tailored accordingly. It is natural to expect a speedy recovery; however, the body requires time to heal, and the outcomes will most likely come slower than patients would like to.
Request a treatment length estimate from your PT, including best-case and worst-case possibilities, and be prepared to hear any answer, even if you don’t like it. Also, keep in mind that the duration will be determined by your progress.
- Whom will I see on each visit?
Even if your clinic can schedule your appointments with the same therapist, keep in mind that this is not always possible.
To avoid confusion in the future, inquire about what to expect during your first session. You may have some sessions with your primary PT, but an aide will assist you with the exercises.
Another thing to confirm is if you’ll have one-on-one time or if your therapist will schedule two or more patients at the same time. You may be fine with this, and it may be more cost-effective, but it can be an unpleasant surprise if you don’t know ahead of time.
- What do you expect from me?
Most of the time, physical therapy sessions at the clinic and your therapist’s efforts will not be enough. Make certain that you understand what is expected of you during those sessions and in the time in-between.
You will most likely be asked to be on time, wear appropriate clothing, be motivated and cooperative during sessions, commit to a home workout program, and participate in therapies such as icing or heating.
I hope the above questions are helpful. You should find visiting a physical therapist to be a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Be prepared to attend every session, work hard, and communicate with your physical therapist.
We understand how difficult it is to handle even the most basic daily activities when you are in pain and have impaired movement.
That is why we take pleasure in our personalized attention and commitment to each client, our staff’s expertise, and our state-of-the-art facilities. We are confident that you will achieve optimum healing and return to the maximum level of function possible by working together.
Call Elite Health & Wellness in Kearney, NE, to arrange an appointment today at (308) 455 1500.