What to Expect From Your First Physical Therapy Appointment
Published - Apr 17, 2018
WHAT IS PHYSICAL THERAPY?
Physical Therapy (PT) is the treatment of disorders with physical agents and methods such as therapeutic exercises, mobilization, electrical and light modalities to assist in rehabilitating patients and restoring normal function after an illness or injury. Physical therapy is a necessary tool to bring a patient back to their full physical potential. Physical therapy care focuses primarily on the rehabilitation of motor skills, range of motion, strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Physical therapy also focuses on teaching preventative measures to patients in order to prevent further injury and pain.
WHAT TYPES OF PHYSICAL THERAPY ARE THERE?
- Manual Therapy
- Therapeutic Exercise
- Spine Care and Rehabilitation
- Sports Related Injuries and Conditioning
- Pain Management
- Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
- Post MVA (Motor Vehicle Accident) Rehab
- Work Related Injuries and Evaluations (i.e. FCE’s)
- Cancer Related Fatigue
- Balance and Falls Prevention
- and many others...
WHO IS A PHYSICAL THERAPIST?
A physical therapist is a person who is licensed in the examination, testing and treatment of persons with pain and loss of function. A licensed physical therapist will have graduated from an accredited physical therapy school and passed state licensure.
WHO IS A PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT?
A physical therapist assistant is a licensed professional who works under the direction of a physical therapist. Physical therapist assistants consult with their supervising therapists on the progress of a patient’s program, helping to ensure the highest degree of recovery possible.
DOES MY INSURANCE COVER TREATMENT?
In order to receive full physical therapy benefits, you must be referred by your doctor (although with some plans this is not always required). Insurance coverage differs with each carrier. Most will pay for a significant percentage of your treatment. As a courtesy, we will call your insurer to give you an idea of your coverage. We encourage you to also call your insurer to confirm the coverage and benefits we quoted. Some physical therapists provide certain treatments that are NOT covered by insurance, but are available on a cash payment basis. If this is an available option for your treatment, then we will inform you in advance.
On your first visit to the clinic, your therapist will conduct an evaluation of your problem. This process usually lasts between 60-90 minutes. The evaluation is necessary to create a program designed specifically to address your needs for a full recovery.
WHAT DO I BRING?
On your first visit you will need to bring a few things. First, you will need to bring the referral slip from your doctor. You will also need to bring your insurance information. If you are getting therapy as a result of a workers' compensation claim or an automobile accident, you will also need to bring your claim information, including claim number. Please make sure to arrive 15 minutes early on your first visit to fill out any necessary paperwork.
WHAT DO I WEAR?
You want to be as comfortable as possible when you go in for your appointment. Most therapists will recommend that you come in sweatpants or shorts, a T-shirt or tank-top and sneakers.
HOW LONG IS EACH VISIT?
After your first visit, subsequent visits will be 60 minutes on average. Times often vary due to the treatment and exercises being performed.
HOW OFTEN DO I GO TO TREATMENT?
In order for you to achieve the results that you deserve, you will be given a treatment plan after your initial evaluation. It is important for your recovery that you attend every appointment outlined by your therapist and prescribed by your physician. You may start to feel better after only a few visits, but can relapse if you do not complete your entire course of therapy.