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How to Prepare for Your First Physical Therapy Appointment

Congratulations – you booked your first physical therapy appointment! You’re taking a big step to manage your daily aches and pains, get stronger, increase your mobility, and get your happy back. It is so important for you to have a better quality of life and continue to do all of the things that bring you joy.

Now that you’ve made the call to your physical therapist’s office to set your appointment, you’re probably wondering, “How do I prepare for the day of my appointment?” There are several things you need to do to have a successful physical therapy appointment and subsequent ones thereafter, so we’ve outlined everything you need to know before you walk in the office doors.

Here’s how to prepare your mind and body for your first physical therapy appointment:

What to Expect

When you walk into our facility, you are welcomed by our friendly team of professionals who strive to make the atmosphere comfortable and inviting. We will do everything we can to make your treatment as low stress as possible. 

Health and Fitness Assessment

This assessment is a quick review of general mobility in terms of flexibility, strength, and endurance of various body parts, not to be confused with an evaluation – an in-depth inquiry into a certain condition or problem of a certain body part. The assessment only takes approximately 15-20 minutes. We will identify deviations in the following and add another 10-15 minutes to convey those findings to you:

  1. Posture in sitting, standing, and walking. 
  2. Mechanics of Gait. Gait or ambulation or walking involves stepping either forward or backward and pushing off. There are certain normal ways to propel body – when there are problems, your physical therapist will make a note of deviations in proper gait mechanics. 
  3. Determine walking speed at a normal and fast pace.
  4. Ability to change position. For example, getting up from the floor, getting up from and sitting in a chair without armrests, going up and down the steps without a railing.
  5. Ability to stand on one leg with or without arm support.

Customized Treatment Plan

The benefit of having one-on-one-sessions with your physical therapist is how personalized your experience will be. We work together to create a custom treatment plan based solely on the results of your comprehensive Health and Fitness Assessment. This treatment plan will be for interventions we will use in our office, as well as for exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home.

Customized Treatment Schedule

By the end of your first session, with the approval from your primary care provider or family doctor, we will establish a treatment schedule that fits your daily routine and level of functioning. We aim to provide you with as much knowledge as possible on preventative measures and maintaining proper body mechanics to reduce the risk of reinjury. We will implement the treatment schedule and adjust as needed in case any key changes need to be made.

What Not to Expect

One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Depending on one’s interests and lifestyle, everyone’s body and function capabilities are different, which is why we don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to treating our patients. Physical therapy is all about improving a person’s function without compensatory movements that the body automatically implements in absence of strength or flexibility in required muscle groups, whether it’s related to bones, joints, muscles or nerves. Our individualized, hands-on care, coupled with the knowledge of body function helps you get the most out of every session and leave knowing the work you are doing is just right for you. 

What to Bring

  • New Patient Forms. It is important to complete all forms prior to your first visit to maximize your time and simplify the registration process. For a full list of A.U.M Physical Therapy patient forms, please visit our website or contact us at (610) 344-7374. 
  • Photo ID
  • Medicare Insurance Card and/or Other Applicable Insurance Card(s)
  • List of Current Medication(s)

What to Wear

What you wear for your physical therapy sessions makes a huge impact on the effectiveness of your treatment. Be sure to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and sneakers with socks that allow you to stretch, bend, pull, and reach without feeling uncomfortable. This also helps you to prevent falls and any future injuries that can come from not wearing the proper clothes. We have lockers available to store your clothing and items, as well as changing areas for you to prepare for your session or change your clothes after your session. 

Helpful Tips from Vrinda

  • Don’t be afraid. We meet your muscles where they are and help you get better to reach your fitness goals.
  • Bring your best effort. Keeping a positive mindset and giving your full effort helps make the treatment process more rewarding. 
  • Physical therapy is a marathon, not a sprint. The journey takes time and effort to see complete results, but you also will start to see improvements in the short-term. Use your trusted physical therapist’s knowledge and support to help you throughout the process.
  • Continue your workouts at home. Regularly engaging in a moderate exercise program can improve your overall balance and movement on a day-to-day basis, making you less prone to unwanted injuries and falls.

Greater independence in the golden years is one of the most valuable things you can have in life. Get started on your journey today for a better tomorrow!

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