Many patients are referred to physical therapists by their doctors following an accident or surgery. Some patients are sent to physical therapy to deal with chronic pain. Each patient's physical therapy will be different, depending on the conditions they face. However, there are four things all patients can expect from physical therapy:
1. You will be asked questions about your symptoms
Your physical therapist needs to know why you've come to see them. If you're there by referral, your doctor will have sent the physical therapist your medical records. Your medical chart can tell a physical therapist a lot about your health. However, there are subjective questions that only you can answer. Your physical therapist will ask you to elaborate upon your symptoms. They'll ask you to describe the onset, duration, and severity of your pain.
2. You will be asked to demonstrate various body movements
People with injuries and those recovering from surgery may not have access to a normal range of motion. Pain can keep you from moving your body in certain ways. Weak or atrophied muscles can also prevent certain movements. As part of the diagnostic process, your physical therapist will ask you to demonstrate several movements. You may be asked to walk, sit, squat, and climb up and down stairs. By observing the motion of your body, the physical therapist can spot areas of muscle deficiency.
3. You will be guided through exercises
Strong, balanced muscles can alleviate many types of chronic pain. When your muscles are strong, your joints will be better protected and stabilized. Your therapist will guide you through exercises designed to help you rebuild your muscles after an illness, injury, or surgery. These exercises will target the fine muscles that you need to build up for maximum stability. Physical therapy may feel uncomfortable at times, but you will be safe the entire time. Your physical therapist may push you to work hard, but they will ensure you don't injure yourself during your sessions.
4. You will be given additional treatments
Exercise makes up a large part of physical therapy, but it isn't the only component. Your physical therapist may use other treatments to ease your pain. Therapeutic massage can help patients who experience soreness due to stiff muscles. Athletic taping can provide support for delicate joints. Electrostimulation can soothe painful muscles as well. Physical therapists have many tools at their disposal, and they will use these various techniques to help you.