Whether your doctor recommended you try physical therapy or you’ve been dealing with some aches and pains, you may be considering seeing a physical therapist. Making your first physical therapy appointment can be a nerve wracking experience, especially if you’ve never been to one before.
But the reality is, there is nothing to be nervous about! In fact, this is often an exciting time to have a conversation with a medical professional whose primary interest is getting you back to the things you love to do.
What Exactly Does A Physical Therapist Help With?
A physical therapist is a specialist in the physical body, knowing the intricacies between muscles, bones, and nerves. Their specialized skill set is designed to not only get people better, but to help them prevent future reoccurrences or injuries. There are 3 things to expect after you’ve made your first appointment including getting to know your physical therapist, the physical examination and finally discussing individualized care.
Beginning of Appointment
Regardless of whether your first physical therapy appointment is in office or via telehealth, the format is relatively the same. You’ll spend the first portion of the visit getting to know each other and discussing your physical history. Oftentimes, these are questions such as;
- When did this injury occur?
- What types of activities are you having trouble with or unable to perform?
- What are some of your hobbies and interests?
These questions help your physical therapist begin to figure out what the problem may be and start creating your recovery plan.
After going through some questions about your history, the physical exam is up next.
If you’re in office, your physical therapist will likely guide you through a series of physical tests examining your strength, range of motion, and pain.
If you’re meeting via telehealth, you will be asked to perform similar tests although yours will likely be more endurance and volume focused, as the physical therapist will be unable to perform any hands on testing.
The results from the physical tests will help your physical therapist finalize your rehabilitation plan which leads right into the final part of your first session: treatment.
Discussing Individualized Care
The final part of your first visit is treatment and discussing your individual plan of care. Physical therapists pride themselves on getting to know people and identifying their goals and creating a rehabilitation plan that matches the individual person.
A physical therapist’s goal is again to help you get back to the activities that you want to do and your plan of care will reflect exactly that.
This recovery plan will involve a series of exercises, including strengthening and stretching, to help you start on the road to recovery. These exercises will be tailored to areas of weakness and/or issue, as discovered from the physical tests done previously. Your physical therapist, whether in clinic or via telehealth, will often challenge you to perform these exercises at the end of your first session to make sure you feel comfortable on your own.
Once you feel comfortable with your home exercise plan, your therapist will likely recap the visit and outline the plan moving forward. This is also a great opportunity to ask questions that may have come up.Your in-person visit will then focus on working on your body by correcting the tissue and injury.
The key differentiator here at POST Physical Therapy is that you have one on one time with a licensed physical therapist, where many others do not.
Congratulations! At this point, you have completed your first physical therapy appointment! Moving forward, you and your physical therapist will work together to accomplish all of your goals. If you have any questions, or are considering starting physical therapy, feel free to reach out to POST Physical Therapy for all of your PT needs at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us as 617-860-6430! We look forward to working with you and helping you achieve your physical goals.