88% of physical therapy users say the care they received was beneficial to helping them return to normal activity, increasing their range of motion, and relieving their pain.
Physical Therapy is a health care profession that identifies and maximizes the quality of life, movement potential through the use of exercises, manual therapy, education, manipulation and other interventions. As part of a comprehensive health care management, physical therapy can aid in relieving pain and preventing some surgeries.
Physical Therapy Can Help With:
- Back Pain
- Knee Pain
- Overuse Injuries
- Shoulder Pain
- Sprains, strains, and fractures
- And much more
Physical Therapist Qualifications
Physical therapists apply research and proven techniques to help people get back in motion. All physical therapists are required to receive a graduate degree – either a master’s degree or a clinical doctorate — from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. They are trusted health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, diagnose, and then prevent or treat conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life.
More and more physical therapists are now graduating with a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. More than 92% of the 210 accredited academic institutions nationwide offering professional physical therapist education programs now offer the DPT degree – and more than 75% of all 2008 PT graduates hold a DPT degree.
How to Prepare for Your First Visit
Make a list of any questions that you might have, so that you can make the best use of your time with your physical therapist.
Write down any symptoms you’ve been having and for how long. If you have more than one symptom, begin with the one that is the most bothersome to you.
Make specific notes about your symptoms. For example, is your pain or other symptom:
- Better or worse with certain activities or movements or with certain positions, such as sitting or standing?
- More noticeable at certain times of day?
- Relieved or made worse by resting?
Write down key information about your medical history, even if it seems unrelated to the condition for which you are seeing the physical therapist.
Make a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are taking.
Make a note of any important personal information, including recent stressful events in your life.
Write down and describe any injuries, incidents, or environmental factors that you believe might have contributed to your condition.
Make a list of any medical conditions of your parents or siblings.
Consider taking a family member or trusted friend along to help you remember details from your own health history and to take notes about what is discussed during your visit.
Make sure you can see and hear as well as possible. If you wear glasses, take them with you. If you use a hearing aid, make certain that it is working well, and wear it. Tell your physical therapist and clinic staff if you have a hard time seeing or hearing. For example, you may want to say, “I have difficulty hearing. It’s helpful to me when you speak slowly.”
If available, bring any lab or diagnostic reports from other health care professionals who have treated you for your current condition.
Bring a list of the names of your physician and other health care professionals that you would like your physical therapist to contact regarding your evaluation and your progress.
When you call to make your appointment, ask whether you should wear or bring a certain type of clothing when you come for your first visit. You may want to avoid tight or formal clothes, in case the therapist wants you to engage in activities during the first session.