What will happen in my first physical therapy appointment?

Never been to physical therapy before? Don’t worry! We get new patients at Fortius Physical Therapy each week. They all go through the same basic process – and they all appreciate our hands on care. Before you come to your first visit with us, here are some important things to know.

1. Medical History Review
Even if you’re referred from a doctor and we have your medical records, we’ll still want to review your medical history with you during your first visit. This will give us a chance to go over details with you and confirm what your doctors have written. If there have been any changes in your condition since your last appointment with your doctor, you can tell them about us at your first visit. We’ll take your heart rate and monitor your respiration.

2. Physical Examination
Since physical therapy deals with the way your body moves, we’ll do a physical examination. We’ll take a look at your flexibility, strength and balance in the office. This can include having you walk, run and stretch in certain ways. It will help us pinpoint where you’re experiencing pain and where your movement is being inhibited. We might ask you to get up from a prone position, and vice versa in order to get a sense of your functional abilities. We’ll also look at your body mechanics and see how your body performs through a series of activities.

3. Setting Goals for Treatment
The medical history review and physical examination will help us determine the best course of action for your treatment program. We’ll work with you to determine how your course of care will proceed. In some cases, we may get started right away with your treatment program or we may start at your next appointment.

The first goal of most physical therapy programs is to reduce pain and swelling that you may be experiencing. Pain is what brings most people to physical therapy, so it’s the first thing that most people look for when they start treatment. Once the pain and swelling has been reduced, we can start working on other aspects of your treatment program, like increasing flexibility and improving your ability to complete day to day functions.

During the treatment sessions, we’ll pay close attention to how your body is responding and then adjust as need be. For example, if there is resistance to a specific movement, we’ll step back and make an adjustment. The constant adjustments to your treatment minimize the risk of injury and make physical therapy very effective.

4. Ongoing At Home Treatment
Your first visit will be the start of an ongoing course of treatment. At your first session, we’ll let you know what to expect in the way of your results, including your time frame for recovery. However, your treatment will also rely on your efforts at home. In most cases, you’ll need to do a series of exercises at home to help your recovery along. During your first session, we’ll instruct you in the office and make sure to correct your form so you get the best results.

In short, your first physical therapy session will be part evaluative, part hands on and part instructional. Call us today to get on the road to recovery!