Questions to ask yourself when attending physical therapy.
Questions to ask yourself when attending physical therapy:
1. What experience or credentials does your therapist have?
You do need a therapist with expertise in your area of treatment. If you have a student or new PT treating you there should be an experienced physical therapist overseeing your treatment.
2. Who is treating you regularly? (PT tech, PTA, or PT) Are your symptoms being resolved?
This also pertains to the experience of your therapist. There’s some amazing PTA’s (assistants) out there. Also, remember a PT Tech should not be conducting your treatment. (It is illegal)
3. Is your exercise program changing appropriately or are you doing the same exercises every single visit?
Some therapists who are part of the PT Mills out there are getting so burned out from the job that they forget why they became a therapist. They are just holding on by a thread and trying to pay off their ridiculous school loan with their low paying doctorate. If your progress is stagnant and your exercises have not changed in 2 weeks, it’s time to have a discussion with the PT.
4. How long are you in physical therapy, 8 weeks or 5 months?
All diagnoses and prognoses are dependent on multiple factors. For example: simple low back pain should be resolved and on its way to healing after just a couple weeks. However if you had a SLAP repair to your shoulder you could be there for about 3 months. You should not be going to the same clinic doing the same exercises for low back, knee, and hip pain.
For an acute injury it should be about 2-3 weeks, chronic injuries 6-8 weeks (if you’re not seeing significant improvement), post-operative ~8-12 weeks. A maintenance program will be ongoing and everybody needs one.
5. Is your PT listening to you?
It’s great to debate with your therapist. Go ahead and educate yourself and keep the PT on their toes. The PT should be happy you’re wanting to be part of the answer to you pain and not someone malingering or just wanting some attention. If ANY doctor gets upset that you are researching ways to improve yourself, you need to get another doctor. You are part of the decision making process and need to have a say in all your health decisions!
6. Do you have a good rapport with your therapist?
Some folks just don’t click. A good PT will be able to empathize/sympathize and get along with even the most ornery of patients. You should feel comfortable and have fun with your PT.
7. Are you receiving hands-on treatment, especially in the first few weeks?
It is not always necessary for the PT to touch you to mobilize or stretch you out. However, it is very difficult to treat/teach proper movement without hands on or do a proper evaluation.