People come to physical therapy for a variety of reasons. Some clients have pain resulting from a recent injury and others have longstanding pain. No matter how you arrived at this point you are most likely a bit worried, tired of being in pain and wondering what the future holds in store. We have created this information page to help you better understand what you will be encountering during your course of physical therapy.
Physical therapy is a process that has a beginning, middle and an end. On your first day you will receive a thorough evaluation with the goal of identifying all the structures responsible for pain. This may include any combination of muscle, ligaments, tendon, joint, nerve or vascular dysfunction. So don’t be surprised if your therapist checks your feet when you have pain in your neck!
Based on the results of the evaluation your therapist will give you a physical therapy diagnosis and will recommend how many times a week (frequency) you will need to be seen and for how many weeks (duration). At this time you and your therapist will also determine what the appropriate goals are for treatment. Very severe cases may require up to three visits per week. Most cases only require one to two visits per week.
Although each person and their problems are unique, physical therapists will follow a similar course of action for all patients. Our first priority is to minimize pain, followed by correcting the dysfunctions and finally strengthening and stabilizing the involved body parts.
On any given day you may expect to participate in several treatment modalities that may include any combination of body work, therapeutic exercise and/or thermogenic or electrical modalities.
It is important to remember that physical therapy alone may not be the entire solution to your problem. This is why physical therapists maintain good communication with your physician. Your therapist may even recommend to you and your physician that other professionals be involved in the course of treatment including medical specialists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists and psychologists to meet your therapeutic goals.
Throughout your course of treatment you should expect to have days where your pain is worse and others where pain has diminished. As therapy continues, however, you should begin to experience more and more “good” days and less “bad” days. As you improve your therapist most likely will decrease the frequency and/or the daily duration of treatment. Little by little you will begin to feel less pain and increasingly stronger. When you have reached your goals your therapist will perform one final evaluation and provide you with final instruction for maintaining your new level of wellness.