What To Expect During A Session

What Happens During a Physical Therapy Session?

If you are someone who has never had physical therapy and you have no idea what to expect, you might be nervous about having physical therapy. It is totally normal to be nervous right before seeing a health care professional. The benefits that you will gain from physical therapy outweigh any fears that you might be experiencing.

A physical therapist (PT) is a licensed, highly educated medical professional who will use their expertise to help you recover from an injury, accident, etc.

In certain states, you do not need a prescription from your medical doctor in order to have physical therapy. New Jersey is one of the states that has direct access. You are able to see the physical therapist directly without seeing your MD first.

Initial Evaluation

The first visit to your physical therapist will be an evaluation. During the evaluation, your therapist will ask you a series of questions about your condition, pain and your past medical history. Once your PT has all of this information, they will proceed to do the examination by checking your range of motion, strength, flexibility, mobility, balance, coordination, and posture. Your PT will also palpate around the area of the injury and look at the integrity of the muscles, joints, and tissue.

During the evaluation and all treatment sessions, you want to make sure you are wearing loose and comfortable clothing. For example, if you have shoulder pain, wear a short sleeve shirt or a tank top. If you have knee or ankle pain, make sure to wear shorts.

Treatment Plan

Once your physical therapist has figured out what your impairments are and where your source of pain is, he/she will come up with an appropriate plan of care. They will sit down with you to explain this plan and help you set goals to achieve a better quality of life.

As part of treatment, your therapist may choose the following:

  • Modalities – Heat, Ice, E-Stim, Laser, Ultrasound, etc
  • Soft tissue mobilization, IASTM
  • Therapeutic Exercise
  • Therapeutic Activity
  • Balance Training

When you come to your therapy sessions, you always want to make sure you give 110%. Motivation is extremely important. You will run into speed bumps. There will be sessions that might seem tough as your body is adapting to these new motions. Speak to your physical therapist and ask questions if you are having any discomfort. They will be able to provide you with techniques on how to handle the discomfort. Once recovery is done, be ready to celebrate your achievements! Give yourself some credit! You did it!