If you have had an injury or illness that makes it difficult to carry out your simple everyday tasks, your physician may refer you to a physical therapist. Physical therapy is a specialized care service offered by trained and licensed physical therapists who work together with the patients with the aim to ease their pain, strengthen the affected areas, improve normal function, and promote better living.
People who have never been to a physical therapist may be skeptical and nervous about their first physical therapy Gadsden AL appointment. Read on further to get a better idea of how an initial session would look like, how to prepare for the consultation, and what to expect from your practitioner or therapist.
Who Is a Physical Therapist?
Physical therapists, also called physiotherapists or PTs, are licensed healthcare professionals who have completed their specific graduate training in physical therapy. They are movement experts who evaluate the patients’ conditions and develop specialized treatment care plans to minimize pain, restore function, prevent disability, and improve the quality of life through hands-on techniques, specific exercises, and patient education.
diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to older adults, who suffer from a wide range of injuries, pain, and health conditions that need special care and attention. They not only treat these patients but also help people who just want to become healthier, reduce weight, achieve fitness goals, and prevent future injuries or problems.
Usually, a physician or other healthcare provider will be the one who refers patients to therapists with a prescription for physical therapy. But, these days, most states in the United States allow patients to visit physical therapists directly without any referral from the doctors.
How To Prepare Yourself for the Initial Physical Therapy Session?
It is important to note that you should wear comfortable clothing such as t-shirts, sneakers, or sweatpants for every physical therapy session so that the therapist can accurately assess your injured area or measure your strength and range of motion. The clothing you wear should allow you to move freely and perform your prescribed exercises.
Before the initial session with your therapist, you will be asked to provide information such as your medical and surgical history (if any), ongoing medications, any limitations you experience, and the primary reason or goal for the appointment. It is also necessary to bring any medical reports that you would like to share with your therapist.
It is advisable to jot down your symptoms, when and how did the problem begin, your previous mobility status, pain location, and severity level, how often do the symptoms recur, and other disabilities you want to explain to your therapist so you don’t forget during your initial consultation. This will be helpful for the practitioners when they evaluate your condition or injury and determine the targeted exercises and specific treatment care plan.
The first session of physical therapy, Gadsden AL, will start with an initial assessment and evaluation. The therapists ask you important questions about your condition, and you need to be honest with your answers so that your treatment plan can be the most effective. You will be asked to provide information such as symptoms, what may have caused them, other treatments you have undergone, and any imaging tests you have received.
The next stage involves the physical therapists conducting a thorough physical examination in which you will be asked to perform certain movements. They palpate the injured areas and move you through various motions to check for swelling, tenderness, or restricted tissue. They evaluate your strength, range of motion, flexibility, posture, mobility, balance, coordination, and muscle function to learn how the condition is affecting your daily life and activities.
Once the evaluation is complete, physical therapists use those results to develop a customized treatment plan depending on your specific needs. It includes therapeutic modalities, hands-on techniques, and targeted exercises.
Therapeutic modalities are different techniques that help you manage and reduce pain, minimize swelling, and provide comfort. Physical therapists may use heat or cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, laser, and dry needling to treat various conditions and injuries.
Manual or hands-on therapy involves various techniques such as massage, mobilization, and manipulation to treat soft tissues by promoting blood flow and relieving pain. Physical therapists use their hands to move the joints and muscles through stretches and skilled forces to enhance mobility and flexibility.
Physical therapists design a specific exercise program that includes stretches, strengthening exercises, and range of motion exercises to strengthen the injured areas, improve flexibility, and promote faster healing. They also recommend a home exercise program to prevent further damages.
Recovering from an injury or illness takes some time, and so it is vital to be patient and work toward the goal of a healthy, pain-free life along with your therapist. Stick to your treatment plan and do not skip any activities that your therapist has recommended. Talk to your therapist immediately if you feel any problems and clarify your confusion with them.