What happens during my first visit?

lady smiling

During your first visit you can expect the following:

  • Arrive at your appointment 15 minutes early with your paperwork completed (you can download it from our website - see the paperwork or forms link)
  • You will provide us with your prescription for physical therapy, if provided to you by your doctor.
  • We will copy your insurance card.
  • You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.

The therapist will discuss the following:

  • Your medical history.
  • Your current problems/complaints.
  • Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
  • How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
  • Your goals with physical therapy.
  • Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.

The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:

  1. Palpation - touching around the area of the pain/problem. This is done to check for the presence of tenderness, swelling, soft tissue integrity, tissue temperature, inflammation, etc.
  2. Range of Motion (ROM) - the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
  3. Muscle Testing - the therapist may check for strength and the quality of the muscle contraction. Pain and weakness may be noted. Often the muscle strength is graded. This is also part of a neurological screening.
  4. Neurological Screening - the therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, sensing touch, pain, vibration, or temperature. Reflexes may be assessed as well.
  5. Special Tests - the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.
  6. Posture Assessment - the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.

The therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and how to treat those problems. A plan is subsequently developed with the patient's input. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy. This plan is created with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.