If you’re considering starting a physical therapy regimen after an injury or surgery, or because you want to take your athletic ability to the next level, you’re probably wondering what will happen at your first session. Your initial physical therapy session is informative for both patient and provider, but there will also be physical exercises involved. Below, we walk you through what you can expect from your first physical therapy session.
Beginning A Physical Therapy Program
Before you head into your physical therapist’s office for the first time, you’ll want to ensure that any relevant images and medical records have been forwarded to or are accessible by their office. A quick phone call to your provider and the physical therapy clinic can help ensure they have access to these crucial pieces of information.
When you head into the clinic for the first time, be prepared to fill out a little paperwork. We’ll need some basic health information from you, but we’ll also ask about your injury and your reason for visit. This will help begin our journey of understanding what’s going on with your body and how we can best help.
Once the paperwork is taken care of, you’ll meet with your physical therapist for the first time. You’ll be assigned a PT who specializes in your injury or who we believe can best help you reach your goals. Barring a scheduling conflict, they’ll be your physical therapist throughout your rehab stint. When you meet them for the first time, they’ll sit down with you and you’ll talk about a number of different topics, including:
- Your injury and how it occurred
- Rehab goals
- Current medications
- Questions and concerns
This is meant to be a two-way conversation, so while it may seem like your physical therapist is leading the conversation, feel free to go into details about your injury, any problems you’re running into or ask any questions that you might have. This discussion helps us set a baseline for your injury and your recovery goals, and then we take that one step further with the next part of the session, which is the physical exercise test.
These physical exercises will be short and simple, and their goal is to help us better understand your physical capabilities and restrictions. We’ll want to see how flexible your spine is, or how far you can bend on your knee. These functional movement screens can help us see where you are with your capabilities and help us develop a care plan to move your recovery along.
Finally, we’ll use all the knowledge we’ve developed during our session to give you a plan for moving forward. Odds are this will include some general education about what movements to avoid and any work or physical activity restrictions, and there will likely be some strength training exercises we’ll want you to perform from the comfort of your home until we meet for our next session. A home-based exercise routine is a great way to keep your rehab on track between sessions, and it can really help make it easier to see improvement as you recover. If you have any questions about your home care plan or how you can best care for your health until your next session, ask away and we’ll be happy to provide answers.
We want to ensure all of our patients who walk out of our clinic after their first session have a plan in place and confidence that their health is in good hands. If you’d like to learn more about physical therapy with our team, or if you want to set up your first session, reach out to OrthoRehab Specialists today.