OrthoVirginia Blog

What to Expect at Your First Physical Therapy Visit at Commonwealth Orthopaedics

At Commonwealth Orthopaedics, we pride ourselves on hiring the most qualified, friendly physical therapists to ensure you have a wonderful and successful experience! Many patients have no idea what to expect from physical therapy. Here’s an outline of how your first visit will go:


1. Paperwork. In most healthcare environments, patients have to fill out many forms. Although some forms are generic, there are specific forms for physical therapy. These forms allow you to describe your symptoms and give the therapist an idea of how your life has been affected by your condition. You will also need to bring your insurance card, the physical therapy prescription written by your physician, and your referral (if applicable). Plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to complete all forms. For your convenience, the physical therapy registration packet can be downloaded on our website at http://www.c-o-.com/patient_forms.asp.


2. Evaluation. Your physical therapist will come to get you in the waiting area. All of our physical therapists are highly qualified, licensed professionals. We will escort you to a private evaluation room and begin the patient interview. We will ask specific questions to understand your condition and to help guide you in the physical evaluation. Next, the physical therapist will evaluate some or all of the following: flexibility, strength, range of motion, posture, body mechanics, gait, soft tissue mobility, joint mobility, sensation, proprioception, balance, and endurance. Please wear comfortable clothing that will allow easy access to the affected body part.


3. Assessment. After the physical evaluation, the physical therapist will discuss the findings and explain what factors are contributing to your problem.


4. Plan of Care. The physical therapist will explain in detail what interventions will be used in your rehabilitation. This may include some or all of the following: joint mobilization, manual stretching, manual strengthening, soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, therapeutic exercise, gait training, postural training, patient education regarding functional mechanics, balance training, agility work, and modalities (ice, heat, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, iontophoresis, vasopneumatic compression). We will also give you a general idea of how many visits we think you will need to complete your plan of care.


5. Goals. Our motto at Commonwealth Orthopaedics is “Getting back to your life”! We set individualized goals with each patient to ensure they can return to living the life they want to live.


6. Homework. You will leave your first appointment with homework! We call it a Home Exercise Program. These will be individualized exercises that you will begin performing on a daily basis. You will be given detailed instructions on how to perform them properly and you will also leave with a handout of pictures and descriptions to follow at home.


We strive to make our patients comfortable during physical therapy. Every patient is different, and we modify our treatments as needed to accommodate you. We want you to get better! By following our plan of care and doing your part at home, the road to recovery should be a successful and enjoyable one.
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