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Key Questions To Ask a Physical Therapist Before Treatment

Key Questions To Ask a Physical Therapist Before Treatment

Before beginning physical therapy in earnest, you may feel apprehensive about the process or nervous about what it might entail. Physical therapy isn’t always easy, but you can make it easier on yourself by gathering as much information as possible before you start. Your nervousness is understandable, but it’s important to remember that your physical therapist is not—and won’t act like—a drill instructor. They want to treat you at a pace that you feel you can handle, and they want you to be as comfortable as possible while you go through your treatment.

When you first start your physical therapy, don’t hesitate to ask any questions that you might have to your physical therapist. Open and honest communication will help alleviate any lingering worries and can even help you recover faster. To get you feeling ready for your first real physical therapy session, we’ve compiled a list of key questions to ask a physical therapist before treatment. These will help you understand the bigger picture as well as set expectations for you and your physical therapist.

What Is Your Experience With My Injury or Condition?

When you’re face to face with your physical therapist, one of the first questions you may want to ask is about their prior knowledge and experience treating your unique condition. Whether you’re recovering from an injury, getting help with a chronic condition, or just improving your overall health and wellness, a physical therapist should have experience working with people who have had the same goals. While all physical therapists have the training to help treat a wide variety of things, some will specialize in certain cases. You may decide that you require a physical therapist with extensive knowledge of your condition. So it’s important to know where your therapist stands regarding your situation.

How Frequent Will My Sessions Be and How Long Will Treatment Take?

It’s a good idea to understand what’s in store for you as soon as possible. The answer to this question will vary quite a bit based on the nature of your treatment, but a therapist who wants you to get better will do everything they can to make your schedule work for you. When you know how long your treatment will likely take, you can feel a little more confident about the amount of progress you’ll see in between each session.

What Are the Goals of My Physical Therapy?

Perhaps one of the most critical questions to ask a physical therapist before treatment is, “What are the goals of this physical therapy?” Setting achievable goals is one of the first steps to creating your treatment plan. Not only does having incremental goals allow you to see your progress much more clearly, but it also maps out what the entire life of your treatment looks like. Setting goals and reaching them over and over again will give you a more concrete feeling of recovery as well. Physical therapy isn’t a race to the finish line; it’s a methodical process that takes time to help you recover as soon as possible.

What Will a Typical Physical Therapy Session Entail?

Gathering as much information on a subject as you can usually helps get rid of some of the mystery surrounding it. If you’ve never done physical therapy before, you might have no idea what you’ll actually do when you show up for a session. Your physical therapist can give you a step-by-step explanation of what each session entails so that you know what to expect when you come in the next time. If you aren’t sure about the reasoning of something they tell you, don’t hesitate to continue asking questions about it until you understand.

How Quickly Could I Possibly See Results?

The answer to this question will vary wildly based on your situation. Everyone’s body responds to physical therapy differently. Your physical therapist can give you an estimation about how long it might take to see noticeable results. But it’s important to remember that your recovery may not follow the norm. You may start to notice results faster or slower than your therapist’s initial estimation. Communicate with them about this as you continue your therapy. This way, your physical therapist can better understand what you’re going through and what it means for the future.

How Much Pain or Discomfort Should I Expect in a Session?

For many people, the potential for pain can be the scariest aspect of physical therapy. Depending on what you’re doing physical therapy for, the process may involve some amount of pain or discomfort. Rest assured that your physical therapist will do everything they can to reduce or prevent this pain or discomfort. But in some cases, it may be unavoidable. Going into your therapy with the right expectations is crucial to your success. Therefore, it’s a good idea to ask this question before you begin treatment.

What Should I Do To Avoid Compromising My Physical Therapy?

The last thing we want is for you to go through physical therapy and then unknowingly do something that goes against your treatment plan. Especially for physical therapy involving injury recovery and rehab, you should be aware of what you can do on a day-to-day basis that might counteract your treatment and prolong your recovery time. Your physical therapist will be able to lay out what you need to be careful doing.

What Are Your Expectations of Me?

Physical therapy is a two-way street. It requires dedication and effort from both the patient and therapist to work effectively. Ask your therapist what they expect from you to get a better idea of how you can make your treatment as effective as possible. This may entail avoiding certain behaviors or changing a habit at home that works against your treatment. Harmoniously working together is the fastest way to recover and improve your physical well-being.

If you’ve had trouble finding physical therapy clinics that care about your long-term health and wellness, we would like to invite you to contact us here at Therapydia. Our approach to physical therapy focuses on improving your life for the future and providing long-term guidance to keep you going for many years after treatment is over.

Key Questions To Ask a Physical Therapist Before Treatment

Jessica Jones

Physical Therapist

Jessica recently moved to Seattle from Boston, MA and is excited to join the Therapydia team. Her treatment experience includes orthopedics, sports medicine, pediatrics, and vestibular therapy. Jessica received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston, MA in 2016. She has completed the Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency at Boston Children’s Hospital and is in the process of completing a Comprehensive Vestibular Rehabilitation certification. Jessica believes in empowering and inspiring patients to take control of their health through education, movement, and exercise. She enjoys treating patients of all ages and levels while utilizing soft tissue techniques, neuromuscular re-education, balance training as well as therapeutic exercise. In her free time, Jessica enjoys yoga, dancing, kayaking, and hiking with her dog!


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