What can I expect my first visit?
When you first arrive, you will be checked in at the front office to make sure your paperwork (download here) and insurance information is correct and complete. If your insurance is Medicare, you may have some additional forms to complete, so please come 15-20 minutes early.
You will then see a physical therapist who will first perform a subjective evaluation. They will ask you a series of questions about the reason you are seeking care. This includes but is not limited to questions about medical history, pain, functional limitations and goals for treatment.
Next the therapist will perform an objective evaluation. This includes but is not limited to assessing range of motion, muscle testing, gait evaluation, posture evaluation, movement evaluation, palpation, neurological screening and special tests.
From the evaluation, the therapist will perform an assessment on how your problem can best be treated. A collaborative plan between you and the therapist will be developed based on the specific impairments found during your evaluation.
Finally, treatment may be given. Because a thorough evaluation is crucial to the most effective treatment, this is prioritized in the first visit. However, patients may receive a home exercise program, manual therapy, modalities, therapeutic exercise, or other various treatments if time permits. The first visit typically lasts around 1 hour.
What can I expect after my first visit?
After your initial evaluation, the rest of your visits will primarily be treatment based visits. This may include a variety of different things including therapeutic exercise, balance/proprioceptive training, manual therapy, taping, or modalities such as cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or laser.
If you were not given a home exercise program at your first visit, you may be given one during one of your subsequent visits. Please remember that while seeing the physical therapist is very important, it is only part of your care and what you do at home is crucial to how quickly and effectively you will recover.
In addition, we do small re-evaluations or progress notes after you've had some treatment sessions. This helps us know how you are progressing and if we need to stop, change, or continue treatment. We will typically do these every 6-12 visits and they will also be sent to your referring physician. If you know you are going to the doctor and have not yet had a progress note done, please let us know so that we can let them know how you are doing in therapy.
Finally, remember that good communication between you and your therapist is key during your visits. Make sure to let them know how you are doing and if you are progressing toward your goals. The therapist will continually make changes to how you are treated based on how you are progressing. Please make sure to ask any questions you may have and the therapist will answer them as best as possible.