When a person suffers a major injury or is recovering from a serious illness or surgery, physical therapy is often recommended to help them make a full and complete recovery. When you see your doctor, he or she will refer you to physical therapy and assist in finding the right physical therapist. Then, you will need to schedule your first physical therapy session. If you have never gone through physical therapy before, it is normal to be slightly nervous or anxious. Continue reading to learn more about what to expect during your first physical therapy session so you can be prepared for your appointment:
Comprehensive Review of Your Medical History
In order to treat you, a physical therapist needs to understand your medical history and know exactly why physical therapy is needed. Thus, when you meet your physical therapist for your first session, he or she will go over your medical history and collect details about the condition that has made it necessary for you to undergo physical therapy. Your physical therapist will ask you a number of questions about your injury/illness/surgery to help ensure that he or she has a good grasp on the issues that need to be worked on.
After your physical therapist learns about your health history and your current condition, he or she will perform a physical exam. Since physical therapy involves moving around and your therapist will need access to your body during the examination, it is important to dress properly. For example, if you are going to physical therapy because you have recently undergone knee surgery, wear shorts to your appointment. Likewise, if you're rehabbing a bad shoulder injury, you should wear a shirt that gives easy access to your shoulder. During the examination, your physical therapist will perform tests to determine a baseline of your current strength and range of motion.
Discussion of Your Treatment Plan
When the physical exam is completed, your physical therapist will develop the right treatment plan for you. There will be the opportunity to discuss the treatment plan and outline your goals. If you have any questions about the treatment plan or do not understand something, do not be afraid to ask questions — your physical therapist will be happy to help you and can explain anything that is not clear. Once there is a treatment plan in place, make sure that you attend all scheduled physical therapy sessions to help ensure that you make a full recovery as soon as possible.