How Long Does Physical Therapy Take?

Physical therapist providing recovery support to her patient

Physical therapy technology and new techniques have combined to make physical therapy simple and easy?here is what to expect from your first session

For people who suffer from chronic pain in their joints or have issues with mobility due to an injury or illness, physical therapy is the key that unlocks doors previously slammed shut. A skilled physical therapist can assess your situation, help you evaluate your goals, and provide focused treatments that will help you return to your previous levels of activity.

Your First Physical Therapy Session

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
  • Balance
  • 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.

How Long Does a Typical Physical Therapy Session Take?

The average physical therapy session takes 30 to 90 minutes, and your physical therapist may start treatment right after the initial evaluation. This is dependent on how severe your injuries are and how long the prognosis is to a full recovery. While they are dependent upon the exact circumstances of your injury or illness, your sessions will include one or more of the following:

  1. Exercise – This is controlled physical stress to help improve strength, range of motion, or flexibility. Exercises can be active, where you are performing the exercise, or passive, where you relax while the physical therapist applies stress to the affected area.
  2. Ultrasound – Ultrasound therapy is a deep heating treatment used for conditions like sprains, muscle strains, or tendonitis. This consists of a wand that is pressed gently into your skin and moved in small circular motions.
  3. Electrical Stimulation – Electricity is applied in small, regular amounts to muscles to decrease pain around injured tissue.
  4. Traction – This is a device you are strapped into that helps separate the joints and disc spaces in the lower back or neck, which decreases pressure on spinal nerves.
  5. Massage – This manipulates the injured tissues in your body to decrease pain, improve circulation, and decrease muscle tension.
  6. Heat Treatments – Heat can increase circulation to injured tissues, relax muscles, and provide pain relief. Hot packs are typically kept on the body for 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Laser and Light Therapy – Light can help improve the healing process of injured tissues. It is painless and quick, usually lasting from one to three minutes.
  8. Hydrotherapy – Whirlpool baths can improve circulation and control inflammation. Whether hot or cold, hydrotherapy has a soothing effect and calms nerves as it massages tired muscles.
  9. Joint Mobilization – This treatment involves a therapist moving your joints passively in specific directions. The gliding motion is increased as the joint regains range of motion.? This decreases pain and improves mobility.

How Does Kinetisense Help Physical Therapists?

Our 3D balance, range of motion, functional movement, and posture modules are specifically designed to offer objective insight to the base condition of the patient. This is noninvasive technology that requires no wearable sensors and only requires the patient to perform a few simple motions. The result is usable, comprehensive movement data and analysis that can be used to either create a baseline or compare to previous screenings to judge the effects of recent therapy and treatments.