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You’ve done it! You scheduled your first appointment with a physical therapist… but now what? In the days before your first visit, you may be nervous. Starting something new is always scary, but knowing what to expect can help. Take a sneak peek at what your first visit will look like and get some tips and tricks to make the most of your visits along the way!

Before Coming

Once you’ve scheduled an appointment, there are still a few things to do before your first visit. Fill out the intake paperwork (which you can find under the “New Patients” tab on our website) prior to your first visit. Arrive a few minutes early with your completed paperwork, Driver’s License/State ID, and Insurance Cards. If you have recent X-rays or MRIs for your injury, consider bringing a copy for your therapist.
Once you arrive, our front desk will scan your paperwork for your therapist to review. You will also be giving a short “functional reporting” survey. These surveys help your therapist identify what you are struggling with. They also use this to monitor your progress during your treatment.

During Your Appointment

At your appointment time, one of our PT Technicians will bring you back to a private treatment room, where you will meet your Physical Therapist. The first visit is 60 minutes long. To start, your therapist will get to know you and learn about your “chief complaint”, or what brings you in for PT. They will also ask about what goals you want to achieve during therapy.

After a brief discussion, your therapist will perform various assessments to get a benchmark of your muscle strength, flexibility, and range-of-motion. After a few weeks of treatment, you will have a “Progress Note” where your therapist will re-do these tests to see how much you have improved during your treatment. Your therapist may even bring you to the gym on your first visit. They will guide you through exercises and stretches to help reduce your pain and increase your strength and mobility.

At the end of your visit, your therapist will provide you with an individualized plan of care. A plan of care outlines your current issues, your treatment goals, and what will be done to improve your condition. Before you leave, you will be brought to the check-out area. Here, a staff member will review your insurance quote, and provide you with a copy of your schedule.

Making the Most of Your Visit

Now that you know what to expect, here are some extra tips for making the most of your appointment:

  • Wear loose fitting clothing. Your therapist will need the body part you are being seen for to be easily accessible. If you are coming for your knee or ankle, loose shorts or pants that can roll above the knee will work. If you are coming for your shoulder or neck, consider wearing a tank top or sports bra to your first visit.
  • Wear your day-to-day shoes. Your therapist may analyze your gait during your visit. Bringing the shoes you wear most often to your visit for the most accurate information from your therapist. Your therapist may also recommend orthotics or other inserts to improve your gait.
  •  Bring a notebook! Having a list of concerns to discuss can help you stay on track during your appointment. It’s also a great place to jot down any notes during your appointment.