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What to Expect

Learn what to expect during your initial physical therapy appointment 

Prior to Your Appointment:

  • Please arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed (forms below).

  • If referred by a doctor, you will provide us with your prescription for physical therapy.

  • You will be seen for the initial evaluation by a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

What to Wear

​It is best to wear clothing and shoes that are appropriate for exercise. Wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice, and for low back problems, wear a loose-fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination.

What to Bring

​If you’ve been referred by a doctor, make sure you bring your physical therapy referral. If you are planning to submit your payment in full and be reimbursed by your own insurance company - an invoice of all charges will be submitted at the conclusion of your treatments. If you are an injured athlete we might ask you to bring some of your equipment with you, but will notify you of this ahead of time. 

*Neither of these are mandatory for you to start physical therapy. 

Here is some additional information to know prior to your appointment:

  • Arrive for treatment sessions at the scheduled time or a few minutes early so you are prepared. Late arrival may affect not only your 1-on-1 time with the therapist, but that of other clients in the clinic.

  • Show up for appointments. Failure to show for an appointment and not calling to cancel the visit is disruptive to the physical therapist’s schedule, but more importantly – the plan of care that has been established appropriately at the beginning of your treatment to assure a successful outcome. If an emergency prevents you from attending, try to provide adequate notice. It is important to review the cancellation policy prior to the start of treatment.

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During Your Appointment

To Start Your Appointment Your Therapist Will Discuss the Following with You:

  • Your medical history

  • Your current problems/complaints

  • Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem

  • How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations

  • Your goals with physical therapy

  • Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health

Next Your Physical Therapist Will Take You Through Your Evaluation. This is individualized but will likely include the following:

  • Your evaluation will likely begin with a whole body movement assessment (known  as the SFMA). This gives us a blueprint for how the entire body is functioning and identifying painful and nonpainful patterns of movements. This sets the framework for the remainder of your evaluation. 

  • Palpation - touching around the area of the pain/problem. This is done to check for the presence of tenderness, swelling, soft tissue integrity, tissue temperature, inflammation, etc.

  • Range of Motion (ROM) - the physical therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.

  • Muscle Testing - the physical therapist may check for strength and the quality of the muscle contraction. Pain and weakness may be noted. Often the muscle strength is graded. This is also part of a neurological screening.

  • Neurological Screening - the physical therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, sensing touch, pain, vibration, or temperature. Reflexes may be assessed as well.

  • Posture Assessment

  • Sport Specific Assessment as Needed

The physical therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and let you know how to address those problems. A plan is then developed with the your input. This includes how many times you should see the physical therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, education, goals, and what is expected after discharge from physical therapy. This plan is created with input from you and your physical therapist. We believe you should be an active participant in your treatment. 

After your initial appointment your physical therapist will follow up with you to see how you responded to the treatment and see if modifications need to be made. 

Do You Have More  Questions?

If you have any more questions, then we would love to help you by setting up a time for you to talk to one of our Physical Therapists here in Fort Wayne to find out what can be done to help you. Click the link below to book a call with us if you would like to get some solid advice given to you over the phone. The phone call is complimentary and there is no obligation to book any appointments with us after the call is over. Our goal is to help you make the right decision about what to do next

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