Sunday, August 19, 2012

Preparing for Your First Physical Therapy Session

If you are recovering from an injury or surgery you may have to undergo physical therapy rehabilitation. If you have been in an accident and suffered neck, back or leg injuries that required surgery you most likely will need therapy to regain flexibility, strength, coordination and reduce pain. As with any medical appointment the first visit to a physical therapist can cause anxiety and nervousness but if you prepare properly and know what to expect you can make your visit a comfortable experience that will get you on the road to recovery.

The best way to prepare for a physical therapy appointment is to know what to expect. Chances are you are undergoing rehabilitation as part of a recovery program and will have been referred to a physical therapist by your primary care physician. It doesn't hurt to search online for information about the therapist and the practice to read reviews from former patients who can give you insight into how their sessions went. The goal of most first sessions is to give the patient a physical evaluation and determine goals for treatment. A therapist will likely want to check your flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, posture and heart rate before beginning any program.

In addition to the evaluation a therapist will want to review your medical history including the recent injury or surgery. Be ready for this by listing any and all injuries and surgeries you have had in your life as well as any serious illnesses, recurring problems and debilitating conditions. Also tell the physical therapist about any medications you may be taking or have taken in the past. The more information the therapist has about your medical history the better he or she can map out a rehabilitation program that will take into account problems you have had.

Depending on your condition you may start therapy right away so it always good to prepare by wearing loose fitting clothing that is comfortable to perform exercises in. The initial treatment won't be strenuous but your therapist may want to assess the amount of pain and swelling in a particular area and see how you react to treatment. If your injury is severe a therapist may need to fit you for special equipment including footwear, splints and crutches. Part of physical therapy is educating the patient on how to perform exercises at home so you can transfer the skills you learn to your daily life. Approach your first physical therapy session with an open mind and be prepared to learn since rehabilitation is an ongoing process that continues outside of the clinic.

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