Physical Therapy is an experience that varies from person to person. For a first-timer, it can be quite intimidating. There you are trying to get better and worrying about many things from finding a good therapist to thinking about how much the whole process will cost. For others, finding the right physical therapist can also be a challenge. This is the reason why it is necessary to have initial meetings before starting a series of physical therapy sessions. It is the only way for all parties to lay all their cards on the table, so to speak, and collectively map away in moving forward. Here are some questions to ask a physical therapist that can help provide vital information before starting your sessions.
1. What is your prior experience?
Of course, it is important to know how extensive the experience of your physical therapist is. This way, you can be assured that you are in good hands. By asking this question, you will get to see how he/she treats his/her patients. You will also have a feel of his/her skills set and whether that is a good match for your needs. Knowing that you are with an experienced physical therapist is enough assurance as you begin your therapy.
2. What is wrong with me?
This is an essential question because of two things: First, it will help you understand your current condition and how to improve it. Second, it will show you if the physical therapist has a good grasp of the science behind your condition and the possible ways to treat it. The most ideal situation is to find a physical therapist who is adept both in theory and practice.
3. Can we fix it?
This is one of the most important questions to ask a physical therapist. Honestly, given your current condition, is essential. There are two reasons behind this: First, you get to manage your expectations. The truth, no matter how inconvenient, is a vital ingredient in healing. Withholding information will only prolong the agony. Whether the prognosis is good or bad, it is important for the patient to know so he/she can come to terms with his/her situation as soon as possible. Second, you get to set realistic goals. Now that the patient understands his/her condition, he/she can then come up with an achievable path toward healing.
4. How can we fix it?
This is the part where the physical therapist and the patient collaborate about the right way moving forward. Here, your physical therapist will give you an overview of possible treatment and it is up to you whether it is something you are willing to do or not. One has to remember that healing is not solely the physical therapist’s job. The patient’s will to get better is half the battle. Be involved in mapping a way to your recovery. This is vital if you want your condition to improve.
5. What is your experience in dealing with this condition?
The first experience-related question gives a general view of your physical therapist’s background. Now, you have to make it more specific. Has your physical therapist worked with similar cases before? How did those cases turn out? This is one way for you to find out if he/she is the right person to handle your case. The good thing here is that most therapists make referrals if they know there are more qualified people to handle a particular case. Do not hesitate to ask either way.
6. Is there anything I can do to help?
As mentioned earlier, healing is not only up to the therapist, his/her skills, or the treatment itself. Healing requires so much from the patient himself/herself so you have to be ready to do the work. This question will show how committed you are in getting better. It will also provide an opportunity for the physical therapist to suggest ways that you can do to make the process relatively easier and faster. The therapist might suggest what clothes to wear during the therapy or the type of shoes that are needed. He/She can also tell you what food to steer clear from or what medication to take. Working together is an essential component in physical therapy.
7. What will the sessions be like?
This goes alongside your expectations question. It is always best to know what you are getting into. Understanding how the sessions will be like will definitely help you as you prepare for your therapy. Another reason why this should be one of the questions to ask a physical therapist is that it will allow you to have an overview of your therapy program. Looking at the bigger picture will show you the goals you need to achieve with your physical therapist and some indicators that will tell you whether you are getting somewhere or not.
8. How long will the program take?
Therapy does not have to be a lifelong thing in most cases. An experienced physical therapist can give you an estimate of how long your program will take. This way, you can work out a schedule that fits your therapy sessions and you can look forward to a time when things will have become better.
9. How much will it cost me?
This, of course, is the million dollar question to ask your physical therapist, well, quite literally. Physical therapy, depending on the condition, can be quite heavy on the pocket. To make sure that you are also prepared finances-wise, it is essential that you ask this question. Knowing the answer to this question will help you plan out how to manage your finances accordingly.
Physical therapy is a huge step towards healing. Finding the right physical therapist is no easy task. By getting answers to some of these questions to ask a physical therapist, you will get to have a glimpse of what lies ahead and the person who will ultimately share this journey with you.