With so many options, it can be difficult to choose which physical therapist to work with. But finding the right one for you can greatly improve your treatment outcome. To help you narrow down your options, here are five key questions to ask:
1. What specialized training do you have?
PTs may have special board certifications. What this means is the PT has taken post-graduate courses and passed an exam to prove aptitude in the specialty area. For example, if you have symptoms of pelvic pain or incontinence, you may choose to work with a PT with a Women’s Health Specialty. Or if you have mechanical neck pain or back pain, you may choose to work with a PT who specializes in treating orthopedic conditions.
2. Do you commonly treat patients with conditions similar to mine?
Often, PTs specialize in treating specific conditions or populations. For example, some PTs specialize in treating older patients. Others may have special certifications in treating low back or neck pain. For the best treatment outcomes, find a PT that specializes in and has a lot of experience with treating your particular condition.
3. How can physical therapy help me?
When faced with several treatment options – physical therapy, medication and surgery, to name a few – you should find out if and why physical therapy is the best treatment option for your condition. A PT will be happy to walk you through the benefits and, if it turns out it isn’t right for you, provide a referral to the proper medical specialist.
4. What will happen during a typical appointment?
During your initial appointment, your therapist will ask you multiple questions related to your condition, perform a detailed and personalized examination, and suggest the best treatment options for your situation. It’s a good idea to understand what will happen during a typical follow-up appointment. Find out if you’ll see the same PT at each appointment as well as if you’ll work one-on-one with a PT or a physical therapy assistant.
5. What is my role in treatment and recovery?
It’s likely your treatment plan will include homework. So make sure you find out what’s expected of you, such as the time commitment, types of exercises you’ll need to do and if any special equipment is needed.
Above all, it’s important that you feel comfortable with your PT. Being able to ask questions is one way to keep the lines of communication open so you both have a clear understanding of your condition and treatment.
Join the conversation: What’s important to you when choosing a PT?