Choosing a physical therapist can be one of the more important decisions a patient ever makes. Because there are so many approaches to physical therapy and so many different levels of specialization, it is important to verify a good match between patient and physical therapist.
By asking these 5 important questions, you can feel confident about selecting the best physical therapist for your medical and health needs.
Question #1: What is your specialty and do you have board certification in that specialty?
This first question aims to identify a physical therapist’s qualifications to treat your particular health and rehabilitation needs.
A physical therapist who holds advanced credentials in any specialty definitely shows an extra dedication to their expertise in the field, but you can feel especially confident when those credentials come with board certification attached.
Question #2: Can you describe what a typical therapy session will be like?
Since every injury is different, this question is really asking your physical therapist to describe a proposed plan of treatment for your individual needs.
The answer should include the average time per session, the initial recommended number of sessions, what types of treatment exercises may be included and why those are the best exercises to support your full recovery.
Question #3: What is my role in the physical therapy process?
You will of course want to know what expectations your physical therapist has of you. For example, there may be at-home work, including daily exercises, icing and/or heat for the injured area, restrictions on activities or even recommendations on diet or supplement modifications to aid in healing.
So you will want to know how much time your part will require and what you can expect to be doing in between your official treatment sessions.
Question #4: What is your approach to individualized patient care?
Some clinics may see multiple patients at once, with one physical therapist rotating between two or three patients at a time. Other clinics may pair one patient with one therapist per session.
You will want to know what to expect so you can decide whether that meets your needs.
Question #5: What can I do to avoid reinjury?
Finally, you want to know what you can do to avoid inadvertently slowing down your own healing process while you are taking physical therapy.
So this question asks what movement aids, including sitting, standing and ergonomic helps, your therapist can teach you.
By understanding how the process of physical therapy itself works, learning more about your therapist’s background and qualifications and knowing what your commitment to the process will be, you can feel confident in choosing the right therapist.