An appointment with a physical therapist is an excellent step towards improved function and injury prevention. To make the best use of your time, please use the following guidelines:
- Wear comfortable clothes. Jeans or long sleeves are not advisable during your initial evaluation since the therapist may need to evaluate your joint stability.
- Make sure to arrive on time or a few minutes prior to your appointment in case you need to fill out some forms.
- Elaborate on the things you are unable to do, or the level of function you would like to achieve with the physical therapist. This will help the therapist to serve you as effectively as possible.
- Provide information about when the pain started, the nature of pain (sharp or dull), what caused it, and what aggravates it.
- Remember that you and your physical therapist are part of a team with a common goal – to get you better as quickly as possible. Do your home exercise program exactly as instructed and try not to miss any appointments in an effort to reach that goal.
Preparing for Physical Therapy
When you visit a physical therapist for the first time, we understand that you may not know what to expect. Here are some things to consider before you seek physical therapy:
- Ask your physician about your condition and if physical therapy is right for you.
- Talk to your friends and ask if they have worked with a physical therapist and what their experience was.
- If you have health insurance, contact your provider and educate yourself about your benefits and physical therapy coverage.
- Become familiar with your medical history and medications and discuss them with your physical therapist during the first appointment.
- If possible, try and define your goal. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and share them with your therapist.
- Remember, a physical therapist is an expert on strength and mobility so if you have any questions related to aches and pains, it’s likely that your physical therapist may be able to assist you quickly and effectively.
Physical Therapy Instead of Surgery?
There are several conditions in which physical therapy is a good treatment option, and knee osteoarthritis is one of them. Individuals who experience knee osteoarthritis respond well to physical therapy, especially in the early stages. A well planned physical therapy program has been shown to improve the body’s ability to function by improving strength and coordination. This may reduce the need for surgery.
The President of the American Physical Therapy Association, Scott Ward, PT, PhD has said, “Physical therapy is effective and should be considered not only by patients themselves, but also the primary care doctors and orthopedists that are treating them.”
Physical therapists recognize and correct abnormal movement patterns, and create a comprehensive treatment approach each patient.
This was just one example of what physical therapy can do for you. For more information on how we can help treat bones and joints (and improve wellness), please contact us. We’ll answer any questions you have about what physical therapy can do for you, and if you need to come in, we’ll see you as quickly as possible.
If you or someone you know is considering surgery, ask your physician if physical therapy is right for you. In some cases, physical therapy can indeed be a viable alternative to surgery.