Return To Blog

Preparing for Your Denver Physical Therapy Appointment

February 28, 2018

If you’ve had an injury that continues to cause you pain and discomfort, and limits your mobility, it might be time to see a professional for physical therapy in Denver. In many cases, seeing a physical therapist for an injury means you can avoid surgery as well as medications. A physical therapist will address any condition that is limiting your ability to move and function properly on a day-to-day basis. Take a look at some of the comments from our patients who found relief with our services, including physical therapy.

Before you go to a physical therapist, here’s what you should know about ahead of time.

Be Prepared Before Your First Appointment

Make a written list of questions you have for your physical therapist. It’s easy to forget what you want to ask while you are in the appointment, so having a list you can refer to is key.

Also make notes for yourself for information to share with the physical therapist. For instance, what symptoms have you been suffering from and for how long? If you have multiple symptoms, which one is bothering you the most? Share information too on when the symptoms are bothering you most, including what activities are giving you the most pain or discomfort. Other considerations include:
  • What time of day are you most bothered by your pain or symptoms?
  • Are there physical positions that bother your pain or symptoms more than others?
  • Does resting provide you with any relief from your pain or symptoms?
Jot down some notes about your medical history to share with the physical therapist. Even medical conditions that seem unrelated to your current pain or symptoms could be important. If you are currently taking any medications, be sure to share that information with your physical therapist. Include a list of all supplements you might be taking.

If you have recent lab work or diagnostic reports from other health professionals, take that along. If you have been working with other healthcare professionals regarding your pain or symptom, and if you would like them to share information with the physical therapist, bring along that information.
Think about your family history, such as medical conditions your siblings or parents might be experiencing. If you have had any injuries or stress, or are dealing with unique environmental circumstances, share this information with your physical therapist.

It’s not a bad idea to take along a family member or close friend to your first appointment with the physical therapist. It can be helpful for someone else to hear the information to ensure you don’t forget anything. Another person might also think of good questions to ask that you hadn’t considered.
When making your appointment, ask whether or not you will be engaging in any physical activities at your initial visit. If so, be sure to wear comfortable clothing so you can move freely.

Considerations About Finances

Ask about the clinic’s financial policies before you go in for your first appointment. Make sure you understand exactly what your responsibilities will be. Find out what might be covered under your insurance and what you will likely be responsible for paying. Read any financial agreement closely before signing it.

Be prepared to pay any deductibles or copays each time you go to physical therapy so you can avoid getting a large, unexpected bill. Be sure to find out what is covered under your insurance as far as frequency of visits. If your insurance coverage changes at any time during treatment, be sure to let the office know this.

Your First Visit to the Physical Therapist

Now that you have done the legwork prior to coming in, it’s time for that first appointment. Here’s what you can expect.

Be prepared to answer lots of questions, both about your overall health as well as the specific pain and symptoms you are being seen for. The more detailed you can be, the better the plan your physical therapist can devise for your treatment. Be sure to talk about your home and work environment, how healthy a lifestyle you live, what your activity level is, and any leisure activities you might be involved in.

Your physical therapist will conduct a physical exam that will vary from patient to patient, depending on your individual circumstances. These might include:
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart and respiration rates
  • Strength and flexibility tests
  • Flexibility and balance
Your physical therapist will probably touch the area in question as well.

Other parts of the evaluation might include a close look at how you walk, how you get up from lying down, how you stand up when getting out of a chair, how well you can bend and lift things.

Goals of Your Physical Therapy Treatment

At your first visit, your physical therapist will go over your goals for treatment. In most cases, your physical therapist will make a diagnosis at that first appointment and make a plan that will improve your ability to function on a daily basis. Depending on your pain or symptoms, this might include improving motion or reducing pain. (Find out more here about who can benefit from physical therapy.)

As you go through treatment, your physical therapist will constantly be making adjustments, based on what does and doesn’t seem to be working.
If you need any special equipment, such as a splint or crutches, your physical therapist will make a recommendation. If you at risk for falling, he or she may also make recommendations for equipment that can make your home and work environment safer.

Be prepared to have “homework” as your physical therapist may assign exercises for you to do at home in between visits.

Make a commitment before starting physical therapy to be an active participant in your treatment. Also go in with a positive attitude, which has been shown to improve patient results. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions about your physical therapy.

Contact us today to find out more about physical therapy or any of our other services. With offices throughout the Denver metro area, including south Denver, Highlands Ranch, Lowry, Parker, Aurora, and Englewood, you can be sure that one is conveniently located near you. We look forward to working with you and helping you live a healthy, pain-free lifestyle!