What to Expect From a First Visit With a Physical Therapist

A physical therapist is a licensed medical professional who assists individuals with movement, balance, and coordination issues that limit their activities. Physical therapists examine, diagnose, and treat patients whose medical conditions prevent them from moving and performing basic functions in daily life. In most jurisdictions, you can conveniently schedule an appointment with a physical therapist for free without the need for a doctor’s referral. You can either go to your general practitioner or a gym that offers this kind of treatment.

During your first visit, tell your physical therapist about your current health situation and any previous treatments that you have had. Your therapist will then ask you questions about your symptoms and how long you have been experiencing them. For example, if you are experiencing neck pain, tell your PT that. Your PT will assess your condition and recommend treatment based on his assessment. You can expect your first visit to last no more than one hour, during which your PT will examine and test your muscles and soft tissues, order appropriate lab tests, and install custom-fitted orthotics to relieve pressure on your limbs.If you wish to learn more about this, visit Movement 101.

During your follow up visit, your PT will discuss any progress that has been made with your treatment and inform you of any pain or discomfort that remains. If your PT determines that your condition requires more treatment, he will discuss these recommendations with your doctor. To be eligible for physical therapy, you must meet certain criteria that include being in good physical condition; experiencing minimal pain; unable to stand on your own; and able to communicate your needs to your PT. With proper treatment, many patients find that they are able to resume normal activities in a short period of time.