So, your doctor gave you a prescription for Physical Therapy, what now?

What is Physical Therapy and What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

“Physical therapists (PTs) are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the very oldest, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.

PTs examine each individual and develop a plan using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. In addition, PTs work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.”

Source: http://www.apta.org/PTCareers/RoleofaPT/

Finding a Physical Therapist Near You

There are many ways to find a physical therapist near you.

  1. Check with your insurance. They will be able to give you a list of offices in your area who accept your insurance.
  2. Google.
  3. Ask for recommendations on Facebook. The best referrals are personal referrals! Someone who can to tell you what they liked and didn’t like is a valuable resource.
  4. Pay attention next time you’re driving your usual daily route. Do you pass any physical therapy facilities? You want the location of your physical therapist to be convenient for you.

What to Look For & Questions to Ask Before Making an Appointment

  1. Is the location convenient for you?
  2. Is the facility clean?
  3. Is the staff friendly and eager to help you?
  4. How many therapists will you see?
  5. Are the hours and availability of appointments going to work with your schedule?
  6. Does the facility accept your insurance?

What to Expect At Your First Visit

Patients should expect to have new patient paperwork to complete prior to beginning their evaluation with the therapist. Upon completion, you will complete an electronic functional assessment on an Ipad. This assessment will ask a series of questions pertaining to the reason you’re coming in. It will then produce a score that will be used to track your progress throughout therapy.

Next, you will be evaluated by a therapist. Your physical therapist will sit down with you on your first visit (PT initial evaluation) and take a thorough history of your condition. Then your PT will complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine if you have limitations in range of motion, flexibility, strength, balance, coordination and gait. Based on the findings the PT will educate you on your diagnosis. Together you will develop a treatment plan and goals that will address your areas of limitations and your desires to get back to what matters the most to you.
From there, during your future visits, you will come in warm up, perform exercises that will address your deficits, manual therapy may be performed by your PT and modalities may be used to help decrease pain. Throughout your treatment, your PT will reassess your progress and modify or advance treatment as needed.
Initially, you should expect to come in three times per week. As you progress, your frequency may drop down to two times per week. Depending on your diagnosis and severity of injury you can expect to be coming to PT for 1 to 3 months. The goal is to have you better as soon as possible.
At the end of your treatment plan, when goals have been met, your PT will sit down again with you and look at the original deficits and measure to see if the deficits have resolved or are improving. Your PT will give you the feedback and send the information to your physician so they can see where you were and how you progressed. If the majority of the goals were met then your PT will discharge you with a home exercise program.

What You Should Wear

Wear something comfortable! Make sure whatever is being treated is easily accessible for observation.

What You Should Bring

  1. Your Driver’s Licence/ID
  2. Your Insurance Card(s)
  3. Any Worker’s Compensation or Auto information (if applicable)
  4. Your Prescription from your doctor