Getting Started in Physical Therapy

People of all ages use physical therapy to treat injuries and manage long-term health issues. They might go to a physical therapist after an injury or surgery, or they may work with a PT for a chronic illness like arthritis, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. PT might include massages, treatments based on physical stimuli (such as heat, cold and electrical currents) and exercises to help patients move more easily or strengthen weakened muscles.

During their first session, a PT will examine the patient to determine the best course of treatment. Using the results of this exam, a PT will create a personalized plan that includes goals for the patient like pain relief and improving function as well as any treatments or exercises they will prescribe. During the first few sessions, a therapist will likely go over the plan with the patient, explaining how to perform their at-home routines.

Unlike many other medical professionals, physical therapists get the opportunity to spend a lot of time with their clients. Often, this results in a strong client-therapist connection. During their first meeting, a client should feel comfortable discussing anything they are not sure about with their therapist. They should also be willing to let their therapist know when they are not getting what they need from a session and how it could be improved. In addition, a client should be aware that sometimes physical therapy won’t feel good. But they should remember that pushing themselves through painful movements can cause more harm than good.

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