If physical therapy is in your future, whether it be because of an injury or just a desire to take your athletic performance to the next level, you’re probably wondering how to go about finding the perfect physical therapist, especially if you’ve never worked with a PT in the past. Not all physical therapists are the same, and some are better at what they do than others. Below, we share five qualities to look for in a physical therapist so you know that you’ve found a good fit for your needs.
What To Look For In A Physical Therapist
Here’s a look at some of the qualities you should be looking for in a physical therapist, as well as some of the warning signs that suggest they may not be a good fit. As always, it’s important to remember that you’re not stuck with a physical therapist just because you attended one session with them. If you’re not connecting, or it just doesn’t seem like a good fit, you can request a different PT or switch to a new clinic. Here’s what to look for in a physical therapist.
- They Listen – One of the first things you’ll notice when you meet with a physical therapist is whether or not they listen to your concerns. They need to listen to your symptoms, your description of your issue and your goals in order to make the perfect treatment plan. If they do most of the talking and aren’t taking the time to get to know you and what you hope to achieve with physical therapy, they may not be the best provider for you. PTs are a wealth of knowledge, but in order to put it to the best use, they need to listen to their patients.
- Explain Why – It’s not enough to explain what you should be doing to treat your injuries or improve your body mechanics, the patient also needs to understand why the exercises are important. Patients who understand why they are doing what they are doing are more likely to continue with exercises at home or adapt to healthier lifestyles because they understand why these actions are so important. A great physical therapist will take the time to explain why each exercise or technique is important to your overall goals.
- They Push You – A good physical therapist will push you to be better and challenge you each session, and this is oftentimes a tough quality for patients to come to grips with. If all the exercises were easy, you wouldn’t be gaining anything from the movements, so you need to find a PT who is willing to ensure you put in the work to get the most out of therapy. They aren’t your friend, they are working to help you become the healthiest version of yourself, so you want to find a PT who is going to push you.
- They Adapt – You also want to find a physical therapist who is willing to shift and adjust their exercise plans based on your progress or setbacks. Every session they should be evaluating your abilities and adjusting based on what they are seeing. If they are just putting you through the same exercises each session, your progress may plateau. A great physical therapist has an idea of how your recovery progression may go, but they will be willing to adjust their expectations based on your progression.
- They Help You Set And Achieve Goals – One final thing that all great physical therapists do is that they help you set goals and push you to achieve them. They’ll want to know why you’re at physical therapy in the first place, and what you hope to get out of the sessions. If you’re unsure of what you want in the short- and long-term, they can help you set attainable goals and work with you to help you hit these milestones. Goal setting helps patients track their progress and work hard to achieve an end goal, so you want a provider who helps you set lofty but attainable goals.
If you’re not getting these things from your current provider, or you want to see if the team at OrthoRehab Specialists checks all of these boxes, give our team a call today at (952) 922-0330.