What To Expect During Your First Physical Therapy Appointment

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Physical therapy plays a very important role in promoting healing after surgery or a major injury. If you are in need of physical therapy, you will most likely be referred to a therapist by your doctor. The length of time that you need physical therapy will depend on the severity of your injury or the type of surgery you have undergone. It is not uncommon for people to find physical therapy to be intimidating, since most people have little to no experience with physical therapy treatments. If you are in need of physical therapy, continue reading to learn more about what to expect during your initial physical therapy session:

Wear the Right Clothes

During physical therapy it is important to be able to move around easily, so you need to dress accordingly. Loose, comfortable clothing that does not impede your movement is your best bet. You should also wear clothing that makes it easy to access the area of the body that is being rehabilitated. For example, if you're going to physical therapy due to a knee injury or surgery, you should wear shorts. Wearing the right clothing to your physical therapy session will make the process much easier.

Initial Exam

When you arrive at your first physical therapy session, your physical therapist will do a full exam. A physical therapy exam includes measurements and tests of functional mobility, strength, range of motion, and balance. A comprehensive exam is very important for developing a treatment plan and also establishing a baseline. While some of the testing done during an initial physical therapy exam may be slightly uncomfortable, you should not experience any pain or extreme discomfort. Your physical therapist should be very clear about what he or she is doing and should also tell you what you can expect as your treatment continues.

Establishing a Treatment Plan

After a physical exam is finished, your physical therapist will have a good idea of how to treat you. He or she will then discuss your treatment plan. When discussing the treatment plan, your physical therapist will explain your treatment goals, your estimated time of treatment, frequency of treatment, and what you will be focusing on during your sessions. During your initial appointment, your physical therapist may opt to begin treatment. In many cases, treatment involves doing a variety of stretches and exercises that are designed to promote strength, mobility, and range of motion. 

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