Physical Therapy

Breaking Down Your First Physical Therapy Appointment

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help with an assortment of issues. You may be able to reduce your dependency on medications or recover more quickly and wholly from an injury. If you suffer from chronic pains or aches, physical therapy can help reduce that, too. Making the decision to see a physical therapist is the first step toward possible recovery, but you still want to know what to expect the first time you go. Here’s a quick guide to your first appointment and what happens next at our physical therapy clinic.


The first appointment is technically an evaluation. The physical therapist may start you on some exercises toward the end of the session, but this one is mainly for understanding your problems and developing a therapy plan to address them. You will be asked for your family history and to describe your problem. Don’t forget to tell the therapist when the issue first cropped up, how long it has lasted, where it is located on your body, and if exercise affects it. Bring medical records for surgeries and doctor’s visits that the therapist can look over.

Physical Exam

After consulting the facts, the physical therapist will complete a physical exam to better understand your issue. They may make you do several physical tests to examine your strength, balance, flexibility, mobility, and reflexes. Be sure to wear comfy clothes for the first exam, such as workout clothes you would sport at the gym. As long as you feel comfortable moving around a bit, your outfit should be fine. Just make sure that your clothing allows easy access to the area of your body that is causing problems.


Once the evaluation and physical exam are complete, your physical therapist should have a pretty good idea of how to start your treatment. They may discuss options and goals for the coming weeks that you can shoot for. While you will continue to return to therapy for as long as necessary, the physical therapist will probably give you exercises to do on your own at home. When you return for your next appointment, they will see if any of those exercises have helped.

Attending a few physical therapy appointments can let you determine if you think it’s the right choice for you. If you feel it’s not working, you can always stop going. Just know that seeing a physical therapist in a clinic such as Mid Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic regularly for an advised period of time creates better results than going only a few times.