Your First Physical Therapy Session: What You Need To Know

Have you been referred by your doctor or physician to a physical therapist? If so, there are many reasons as to why this may be the case. Perhaps you recently had surgery that you need therapy to recover from, or maybe you're experiencing pain that your doctor believes could be relieved by physical therapy. Regardless, there are a few things you'll want to be aware of before you show up to your first physical therapy session.

Bring Your Referral and Payment Information With You

Depending on what state you live in, you might need to have an official referral from your doctor or physician in order to see a physical therapist. If this is the case, be sure to bring all referral paperwork with you to your first appointment, along with specific payment information. For instance, you'll need your insurance card if you plan on having your health insurance pay for all or part of your therapy. If you're on Workers Compensation, on the other hand, be sure to bring your claim information.

Wear Comfortable, Accessible, Loose-Fitting Clothing

Your physical therapist will need to be able to easily access the affected area of your body that needs therapy. Plus, you'll be engaging in some light physical activity, so be sure to dress appropriately. For example, if you're receiving therapy for a recent knee replacement surgery, consider wearing gym shorts. If you are getting therapy for shoulder pain, wearing a tank top is a good idea.

Don't Expect a Diagnosis From Your Therapist

If you haven't already received an official diagnosis from your doctor or physician, understand that your physical therapist may be able to make some suggestions, but he or she will most likely not be legally able to provide you with a diagnosis. His or her job is to help treat your pain and improve function, so only your doctor or physician can make a complete diagnosis of any disease or health condition.

Expect to Be Given "Homework" By Your Therapist

Your therapy sessions will typically last between a half hour and an hour, depending on your specific needs. However, there is also a good chance that you'll be given "homework," or therapy exercises that you'll need to perform at home. Be sure to take these assignments seriously because completing at-home therapy exercises will make your next session easier and will also help to speed up your recovery process.

For more information on physical therapy, contact a facility such as Bonita Community Health Center.