The initial evaluation takes place during your first visit for physical therapy. These visits generally take about an hour and are important because the following things will happen
Gathering information about the reason you are coming for physical therapy. Do you have pain, weakness, etc? Are there specific things you find difficult to do? We will take measurements of appropriate things such as how much your joints can move (range of motion), measuring your strength, gather your complete health history, and study how you walk, move, or sit. We will also palpate or search for tender points, swelling, or muscle spasms.
Find out what your goals are with physical therapy, or help you define them, if needed. This may be as simple as, "I want to lift my grandchild up without my arm hurting" or specific as, "I want to be able to work eight hours painting a ceiling without a pinch developing on the right side of my mid-back." Setting a goal helps us to know if we are successful in you rehabilitation!
Designing your treatment plan. Using information from your evaluation and your diagnosis, we will work together to design and carry out a treatment program to successfully meet your needs. In order to restore you to your highest level of function, we may include various treatment modalities and manual techniques. These treatments may include stretching and mobilizing joints and muscles, strengthening exercises, hot and cold treatments, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, home exercise programs, as well as manual techniques from our skilled therapists. Treatments may be used to decrease muscle spasm, decrease pain, increase strength and mobility, and ultimately to achieve your goals in a timely manner.
Start treating the issues. We will start to address dysfunctional areas on the first day, to help alleviate pain or improve function right away.
Develop a home exercise program. Physical therapy is a team effort between you and your therapist. We will teach you exercises for you to do at home that will help speed your recovery, and in some cases provide pain relief. By the time you are finished with physical therapy, you will be comfortable with exercises to further progress and help keep the same problems from happening again.