Beginner’s Guide to Your First Physical Therapy Appointment

Have you recently been injured or sick to the point that it hindered your mobility? Your physician may have recommended a physical therapist (PT) to help get you back on track. The first physical therapy appointment will be the starting point for your recovery. But maybe you’re feeling nervous or anxious about going.

Use this beginner’s guide to know what to expect and ease any concerns.

Physical Therapy Appointment

Be Prepared to Answer Questions

Like any medical professional, a physical therapist is going to ask you a lot of questions. This is how they are going to start their physical therapy plan for you.

Here are some of the questions you need to know:

  • What happened to which part of your body?
  • What motions or activities make it better or worse?
  • How often are you in pain?
  • How intense is the pain?

Use as much detail and timelines as possible. The more information you give, the better the PT can evaluate the source of the problem.

They also want to know your medical history, medications, and any past surgeries.

Examination

The first examination is going to include a battery of tests. The PT needs to know your strength, range of motion, balance, and functional mobility. 

Don’t do these measurements with an aggressive mindset. Many athletes attend their first PT appointment with the idea they need to show how tough they are.

The PT needs to establish a base of where you are and the pain that comes from the movement. Don’t push yourself so hard that you hurt yourself. Let the PT guide what you’re supposed to do.

Make the first examination easier by wearing activewear. Clothing should also be moderately accessible. 

For example, a person with an injured knee should wear shorts instead of pants. Someone with a back injury should wear a loose shirt.

Your Treatment Plan

After the examination, the PT is ready to give you a treatment plan. While they are creating the plan, they will consider your goals and objectives with physical therapy.

Depending on your level of pain, the physical therapist may recommend several sessions with them per week. Some of these treatment plans can include electrical stimulation or therapeutic modalities. 

Most PTs also give activities or stretches a patient can perform at home or at the gym between appointments.

Physical therapists may also refer you to specialists if you have a specific issue or concern. You might be asked to see a dietitian or psychiatrist to treat several hindering problems related to the injury or illness.

After the First Physical Therapy Appointment

When your first physical therapy appointment is over, you’ll have a chance to ask any remaining questions or concerns. Don’t be shy; the PT wants to see you get better.

The PT will also share home management tips for any pain or discomfort until your next appointment.

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Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan