Physical Therapy: What to Expect

Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an essential part of recovery and rehabilitation for those who suffer from physical injuries. Physical therapists help patients recover movement and build strength to return to normal daily activities. With the right therapist, you can experience a speedy recovery process that will lead you back into your everyday life! Here, we’ll discuss what to expect during physical therapy sessions, as well as how it has helped others get their lives back together again.

The first visit:

Depending on what state you live in, you may be required to present a doctor’s referral in order to be seen by a physical therapist. If you are under 18, you may want to consider bringing a parent or guardian as well so you have someone who can help you with home exercises and information retention. You may also have to fill out some paperwork, but the staff at most practices are happy to help you with this if necessary.

The first therapy session will typically include an evaluation of your mobility and strength in order for the therapist to understand what specific exercises they’ll need to focus on during treatment. Try not to wear clothing that is too tight so that your overall strength and range of motion can be accurately measured. If you have a problem with your knee or arm, shorts or short sleeves may be helpful to wear as well.

During the first visit, the PT will also ask questions about how you’re feeling, where you are experiencing pain, and how severe it is on a scale from 0-10.  They will also want to know how long you have been experiencing the pain. Make sure to be completely honest with your physical therapist so that they can assess your condition and assign the proper treatments.

After, you can expect to receive home exercises that you can begin doing on your own. It is vital that you stick to the exercises prescribed by your PT and do not try to do too much on your own. You may also be given a stretching or strengthening routine to follow, as well as tips for improving your posture.

Ongoing sessions:

Most physical therapy treatments last around 30 minutes, but this can vary depending on your injury and the progress you are making. You will typically attend sessions once or twice a week, but this may lessen as you get closer to returning to your regular activities.

At larger clinics, you may meet with several different therapists for different parts of your training. This is much less common at smaller clinics with fewer patients but is still a possibility. If you end up seeing a new face, make sure that the therapist reviews your medical history and goals so they can continue treatment as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Your therapist may also use different treatments such as heat, ice, or electrical stimulation to help you recover. If you are in pain during a session, be sure to let your therapist know right away so that they can adjust the treatment. But, keep in mind that while pain relief and recovery are the primary goals of PT, it won’t always feel good in the process.

At the end of each session, your therapist should let you know how you are doing and what to expect next time. You should also be transparent with how you are feeling at home so that your PT can gauge your progress that may not be visible to them.

When treatment is over:

Some of the exercises and stretches that you learn from physical therapy may stay with you forever. When therapy is over and your body is healed, always remember to maintain an active lifestyle and make sure not to overdo exercises that could result in reinjury.

If you have any questions or concerns after therapy is complete, don’t hesitate to reach out to your therapist. They want you to be healthy and happy for years to come.

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