5 Things to Consider When Signing Up for Physical Therapy
There are currently over 200,000 physical therapists employed in the USA. Choosing the right physical therapist for you and your specific needs doesn't need to be a challenge, but it does require you to answer these following five questions.
What Are Your Current Symptoms?
What is it about your current physical issue that causes you trouble on most days? Is there something that triggers your condition to flare up occasionally? These are all things you should make a note of and bring up to your physical therapist. In most cases, the more information they have, the better they are able to help you in your unique situation.
What Are Your Goals?
The goals of someone looking at physical therapy for a herniated disk are going to be different than the goals of someone looking to improve their general flexibility.
Before your first appointment and possibly even before you choose a physical therapist, you may want to write day and prioritize your goals. This is especially important if you have multiple issues you wish to address. While not the practice of every physical therapist, many will recommend tackling one problem at a time or only one issue per session until your care has been established.
What Can You Afford?
In many cases, physical therapy is not or is only partially covered by insurance. Make sure the treatment you need is covered or know the rules for what is included. These rules may change based on your specific circumstances.
In some cases, these rules change if you have a referral from a primary care physician or specialist. In this case, talk to your doctor and your insurance company, or the insurance department at the physical therapy practice you are interested in and see what options you have. They may be more generous than you had initially thought.
What Questions Do You Have?
To make the most of your physical therapy sessions, write down any questions you have throughout the week and bring the list with you to your appointment. Even if you think the problem is “too embarrassing” or is something unrelated, it never hurts to ask. Chances are they have heard it before. Take notes, if needed, or ask for a copy of any charts, documents, or notes the physical therapist has or refers to.
Sending you reference materials is a common practice in many physical therapy offices, but it's still a good idea to ask if this is not the case in your situation.
Which Physical Therapist Should I Choose?
Before anything else, make sure that you are choosing a licensed physical therapist. They should be able to show you a copy of their credentials, and you should be able to look them up quickly.
In addition to making sure that the physical therapist you choose has the proper credentials, it's important to ask them about their experiences. Have they had experience dealing with problems like yours in training or during their time as a licensed physical therapist? These are essential questions to ask before committing.