If you’ve determined that you could benefit from physical therapy, you may be eager to start this process or hesitant to place your wellbeing in the hands of a physical therapist. Either way, you can benefit significantly from understanding what to expect from the physical therapy treatment process. Being prepared can minimize any anxiety you have about integrating a physical therapy regimen into your care plan and can help you maximize the benefits of any time you invest in this process.
Your First Visit
Your first physical therapy visit will likely focus on understanding your circumstances and your needs as a patient. As an experienced physical therapist – including those who practice at LeMoine Physical Therapy – can confirm, it isn’t possible to craft the kind of personalized care plan that you deserve until your physical therapist understands what has happened to you and what you hope to get out of physical therapy.
As a result, you’ll want to take some time to identify what you hope to accomplish by investing your time and energy in physical therapy. Do you hope to regain mobility, minimize and/or better manage pain, avoid surgery, recover from surgery, or maximize your physical potential? The more clearly you can articulate what your goals are, the better equipped your physical therapist will be to craft a treatment plan tailored to help you reach those goals.
After your physical therapist speaks with you about your needs and circumstances, you’ll likely be asked to perform some movements or exercises designed to help your PT specialist assess your current range of motion, alignment, etc. Your physical therapist may need to touch parts of your body to see if they pop out of alignment when moved, etc. If you do not want to be touched (or want to be touched as little as possible) please vocalize that so that your PT specialist can adjust their approach accordingly.
It’s also important to “know before you go” that your physical therapist will likely give you instructions in re: how to keep your care rolling at home. You may be instructed to perform certain movements a certain number of times per day or you could be told that the benefits of your physical therapy will multiply if you book massage therapy sessions or use a massage tool to loosen up your tissue in specific ways.
Make sure to ask your physical therapist if you have any questions about what you’re supposed to be doing at home to maximize the benefits of your sessions. All too often, patients don’t ask questions because they don’t want to appear unsure of themselves. You don’t have to prove anything to your PT specialist. You’re seeking care to benefit your own wellbeing, so don’t feel as if you need to appear confident or sure of something if you’re not. Speak up, ask questions, voice concerns if you’re not seeing enough progress, so that your PT specialist can adjust their approach when necessary.