Updated: Apr 28
Rehabilitation is a crucial part of recovering from any injury or surgery and getting you back to (or even better than) how you were before. There are a ton of professionals claiming expertise in the domain of physical rehabilitation.
However, the best trained and most qualified of those is a physical therapist (PT). Deciding on a PT can be challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before and don’t really know what to look for.
We’re here to help! Here’s the seven most important things you need to know before choosing your PT to ensure you maximize your chance for a full recovery and return to pre-injury function.
1. Make sure that you receive physical therapy from a certified physical
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, the single most important factor in choosing a PT is to ensure that he/she is a licensed physical therapist. In order to practice, all physical therapists need to have a degree from an officially recognized physical therapy program and must have completed their national licensure exam.
2. Do your research!
Different outpatient clinics offer various kinds of specialization, such as sports medicine, hypermobility, back or knee pain, and joint replacement. Their PTs may offer special skills and additional areas of certification. Call and visit as many clinics as you can to get as much information as necessary for you to make an informed decision.
3. Choose a physical therapist that you get along with
Physical therapy is a partnership that involved constant dialogue between therapist and patient. It’s imperative to work with someone that you have a good rapport with, and someone you feel comfortable with. As a patient, you’re also responsible for your healing process, and your chances for a full recovery will be greater if you have a strong and trustful working relationship with your therapist, and be able to follow their advice. Open and honest communication is key. If you want to check out what other people have to say about a therapist before committing, you can check out any Google or Facebook reviews for them.
4. Know who you’ll be seeing and when
It’s important to find out from any prospective clinic if you’ll be seeing the same physical therapist for every visit. Consistency is key here. Imagine sending your car to a different mechanic every week in order to rebuild the engine! You should always feel that your PT is giving you their full attention, is present, and calm. The last thing you need is a PT that’s running around tense and distracted between patients. If you ever feel uneasy or if an exercise or treatment is uncomfortable, you should voice your concern. Here at Actify, we only see clients one-on-one. That means you get your therapists full and undivided attention for your entire appointment. This not only helps our PTs be the best they can be, but ensures you get the best possible treatment.
5. Your physical therapist should have great manual skills
The best PTs use their hands to mobilize, catalyze, and improve function that can’t be attained by stretching or strengthening alone. These hands-on skills allow scar tissue to heal more effectively, and alleviate areas of inflammation and pain. Powerful and gentle hands are the best combination.
6. Receive the right recovery training to do at home
You’ll be an active participant in your rehabilitation process. Therefore, it’s vital that your PT provides you with well-developed and detailed instructions for exercises to do on your own. These may include handouts, videos, or links to online videos that demonstrate the proper movements. It’s the PT’s job to ensure you’re doing the rehabilitation exercises correctly.
7. Your first visit
Your first visit to an outpatient physical therapist should include a thorough evaluation by your PT. Your physical therapist will obtain your medical history, perform an examination to identify current and potential problems and functional limitations, and find out what your goals are. They will then sit down with you and set up a realistic and concrete plan to get you back to doing what you love.
After a serious injury or surgery, you want the best physical therapist in your corner to get you back to 100%. The process of selecting one can be daunting at times, and the way to find the ideal PT is to do your homework. First and foremost, a physical therapist should possess excellent interpersonal skills and be passionate bout caring for patients, to enable and inspire them to be the best they’ve ever been. Ask questions and do your research. It’s your right to get all the information you can before making a final decision.
If you’d like to learn more about our philosophy and see if we’d be a good fit for you, click here to request your free phone consultation. No gimmicks, no selling, just a conversation between you and a PT to determine if we’d be a good fit for each other. If you like what you hear and you’re ready to take the next step, you can inquire about cost and availability in our clinic. We’ll get right back to you!