Top 5 Things Patients Ask Before Their First Physical Therapy Appointment

After surgery or after an accident, your physician may recommend physical therapy (PT) to help your body regain its strength and natural function. If this is your first time with PT, you may have some questions. Here, we’ve compiled some of the top questions we hear from patients when they first get started.

What should I bring to my first appointment and how should I dress?

When coming into your first appointment at one of our rehabilitation clinics, please remember to bring your ID, insurance cards/information, a list of the medications you are currently taking and your script if your doctor has not faxed it already. Please show up at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. If you’d like you can view, print, and fill out patient forms at home so you don’t have to fill them out in the office.

Additionally, if you have any recent reports from your doctor involving details from a surgery, MRI or X-Ray results you may bring those, although it is not necessary. If you are currently using a splint, sling, crutches, or any other aid, you should bring those to your appointment as well.

As for what to wear, it is important that you are comfortable. Your session may include stretches and moderate exercise, so dress as if you’re going to the gym. Suggested clothing includes:

  • Shoulders-tank tops or loose T-shirt to be able to expose shoulder
  • Knee-shorts or loose pants that can be pulled up over the knee.
  • If coming in work attire realize we may have you lying down and may wrinkle your attire and skirts/dresses make it difficult to get you in positions we may need to test or have you exercise in.
  • Appropriate footwear-for lower extremity injuries please wear athletic shoes vs sandals or high heels to perform exercises in

Will PT exercises hurt?

During PT, your therapist will stretch your muscles and may have you do exercises that cause a little discomfort – this is because they are working to increase flexibility and strength in your body. Just as after a workout, you may experience sore, tired muscles after a physical therapy session.

How long will I have to go to PT sessions?

Every PT session at Ability Rehabilitation lasts 60 minutes. Most patients benefit from visiting about three times each week.

Ability Rehabilitation physical therapyThese sessions can go on until you have reached the desired result set by you and your physician. Factors that can affect the amount of physical therapy you need include:

  • Physical activity level
  • Posture
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Medications
  • Smoking
  • Severity of injury

Will I regain full function after surgery with the help from PT?

Because results vary from person to person and each condition is different, we cannot guarantee 100% regainment of motion. However, physical therapy has been proven to help patients regain sufficient mobility after surgery. After that, your physical therapy plan will include exercises that target strengthening your back muscles and abdominals, which will help you regain full mobility.

What are modalities?

Modalities are used by physical therapists to aid with healing. They use heat, cold, and laser therapy to help strengthen, relax, and heal muscles.  Common modalities that your PT may use include:

  • Hot Packs
  • Cold Packs
  • Ultrasound
  • Tens Unit
  • Iontophoresis
  • Laser Therapy

Physical Therapy involves the development of a rehabilitation plan that will help promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability. Physical therapists also promote health, wellness and fitness and provide consulting education and research, according to the American Physical Therapy Association.

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