Insight Comprehensive Therapy – Physical therapy is a natural and highly effective way to treat a wide range of injuries or health issues. Each year, over 300 million people visit a physical therapist for help managing pain, improving mobility, and avoiding surgery. Yet if you have never been to physical therapy before, it is not uncommon to feel a little intimidated ahead of your first visit and to have many questions about what to expect and how long it will take to get better. In order to get the most out of your PT sessions, it is important to take an active role in your recovery. That means maintaining an open dialogue with your therapist where you can comfortably ask questions and communicate your thoughts. To help break the ice and ensure your first PT session is a success, the team at Insight Comprehensive Therapy has shared a few important questions to ask your physical therapist, including ‘how long is a physical therapy session’ and ‘who will be providing my care’.
How Long Is a Physical Therapy Session?
One of the most common questions patients ask before starting is how long is a physical therapy session? Understanding how much time to block in your schedule and knowing what to expect will help you plan accordingly while also putting your mind at ease. Although the length of each session will vary depending on your diagnosis and requirements, most sessions are between 30 minutes and an hour. Your physical therapist will work closely with you and your healthcare team to understand your needs and will develop a treatment plan that is right for you.
5 Other Important Questions to Ask Your Physical Therapist
Do You Specialize in Treating My Condition?
Another important question to ask your physical therapist is whether they specialize in treating your condition. Physical therapists often specialize in certain medical fields or areas of interest like chronic illnesses or sports injuries. Your physical therapist may have certain additional certifications, such as the Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) certification for treating musculoskeletal disorders or the Pediatric Clinical Specialist (PCS) certification for treating children. If your physical therapist does not specialize in the condition you are experiencing, it does not mean they are not qualified to treat you. It simply means your therapist passed an exam that indicates competency in a specific area.
Who Will Be Providing My Care?
When you start physical therapy, it is possible you will interact with a number of providers, including physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and even specialists such as certified hand therapists. In some cases, it may not be possible to see the same therapist for every appointment due to scheduling conflicts. However, to avoid any miscommunication or confusion it is important to establish who is leading your care and who you will be seeing for each appointment.
What Can I Expect In a Typical Session?
Your initial appointment will be an introduction to your physical therapist and will include a comprehensive review of your problem (including what worsens or relieves your symptoms), your medical history, and how your symptoms are impacting your everyday activities and quality of life. This is followed by a physical exam to determine your range of motion, strength, and other factors related to your condition. These exams will help your physical therapist to thoroughly understand your concerns, symptoms, and abilities, and help them to develop a thorough treatment plan that will meet your goals. Following your initial appointment, your regular treatment sessions will begin. These appointments usually consist of various manual therapies, exercises, and other interventions tailored to your specific needs. It is important to communicate with your physical therapist during these sessions to let them know if you are experiencing pain, discomfort, improvements, or have any questions.
Will Physical Therapy Be Painful?
A common concern for anyone about to begin physical therapy is pain. If you are seeing a physical therapist, it is likely you are already dealing with pain or a mobility issue and do not want to worsen the situation. After meeting with you and gaining a thorough understanding of your condition, your physical therapist will develop a treatment plan to meet your specific needs while keeping discomfort at a minimum. However, physical therapy may lead to discomfort or pain on occasion and it is important to communicate the location, intensity, and frequency of what you are experiencing during your session. This will allow your physical therapist to modify your treatment plan so you can continue making progress.
When Will I Start Seeing Results?
There is no one size fits all answer to this question because every patient is different and has unique goals. Because the body takes time to heal, it is important for people to have realistic expectations. Your physical therapist will work with you to set reasonable objectives and goals so you won’t have any disappointments and can remain motivated as you begin the healing process. It is also important to thoroughly understand what is expected of you during physical therapy. This means coming to each appointment, participating in any recommended home exercises, and maintaining a positive outlook.
Visiting a physical therapist for the first time can be intimidating, but if you come with an open mind and are willing to put in the effort, it should be a rewarding experience. Our team at Insight Comprehensive Therapy is highly skilled, and compassionate, and can help you reach your physical therapy goals. To learn more about our services and to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist, contact us at (810) 275-9610 today.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a physical therapist?
A: Physical therapists are healthcare specialists who use a variety of hands-on care, techniques, and education to help people improve their movement and manage pain.
Q: What conditions does a physical therapist treat?
A: Physical therapists treat a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, headaches, dizziness, sports injuries, spinal conditions, back and neck pain, and limited range of motion (ROM).
Q: Can I see a physical therapist without a referral?
A: In many states, people can begin physical therapy without a referral from a physician. The best way to learn if you are eligible to see a physical therapist without a referral, as well as the services covered by your health insurance, is to contact your physical therapist directly.