You may have been referred to a PT by your physician or you could have found them yourself through one of many online resources, but your first session with them will lay the foundation of a relationship that will help you move past any physical or mental limitations preventing you from leading a fulfilling lifestyle.
The relationship you have with your therapist should feel like a wellness alliance, with both of you working toward achieving your therapy goals.
Here are some tips and what to expect from your first session:
Dress comfortably – Ask when you schedule, but as a guideline be prepared to move around a lot. If you have upper body pain, make sure you wear a shirt that allows access to your shoulders, arms, and back. Shorts should be worn for lower body injuries in knees, hips, and ankles.
Be prepared to discuss your condition – Your initial visit will review your medical history in general but it will concentrate on the conditions that led you to seek physical therapy in the first place. They will perform an exam that focuses on evaluating and measuring the impairments caused by your illness or injury. These evaluations can include:
- Neck pain
- Range of motion measurements
- Functional mobility tests
- Strength tests
- Neurological screening tests
Set up a treatment plan – These evaluations will give your physical therapist the baseline she needs to establish the cause of your pain or lack of mobility and devise a plan designed to increase your range of motion over time, decrease your chronic pain, and allow you to accomplish your PT goals. Your specific plan will depend on many variables like your pain level and your current level of mobility loss. Start a plan, and stick to it.