If you’re new to physical therapy you probably have a lot of questions. Even if the doctor referring you to a physical therapist at Integrated Rehabilitation Services explained why you needed to go for treatment and what to expect you will still have concerns and here we try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions to make your first visit a comfortable and successful experience.

First off, what exactly is physical therapy? Physical therapy is a type of healthcare treatment people may need when getting older, dealing with a debilitating condition or recovering from injury or surgery. The goal of physical therapy is to help relieve pain and restore a patient’s physical function and fitness level. Physical therapy can be recommended by a doctor to help with chronic back pain, tendon and ligament problems, hip treatment, arthritis and many other conditions. Physical therapy can be performed at a clinic, hospital, nursing home or at your own home with out-patient programs.

If you have been referred for physical therapy treatment your next question will probably be what does a physical therapist do? Physical therapists are trained to help reduce pain and swelling in specific parts of your body and work to increase flexibility, strength and endurance. After doing an initial evaluation and going over your medical history a physical therapist will design a custom treatment plan that will help a patient recover from surgery, rehabilitate from an injury or reduce pain from a debilitating condition. Physical therapy often involves exercises, stretching, manual therapy and education but may include electrical stimulation, aquatic therapy and heat and cold treatments.

Another common question a new patient has when starting physical therapy is what to expect and how to prepare. Your first appointment will involve an evaluation by your therapist and a discussion about the nature of your injury/condition and the options you have for physical treatment. Your therapist may want you to perform some simple exercises to determine the extent of your injury and limitations when it comes to range-of-motion and flexibility. To prepare wear loose fitting clothing that allows for easier movement. Though your therapist will have access to your medical history it’s always a good idea to make a list of your health history including major injuries and illnesses as well as any prescribed medication you are taking or have taken in the past.

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