In many states in order for you to go to a physical therapist you need a doctor’s referral. In some states you can simply walk in and ask for an appointment like any medical practitioner.
Now, just because you have a doctor’s referral doesn’t mean it is for a specific physical therapist. It can be but it can also be a referral for any physical therapist that you would like to use. Regardless of whether it’s from a referral or off the street you need to ask the physical therapist some questions that can help you decide whether you want to go with them or not.
Perhaps one of the first thing you want to know and therefore should ask is the type of education and training that the physical therapist has gotten. It may not seem that important but knowing the background of the therapist can go a long way in assuring you on whether he or she is the one for you.While you’re at it ask about their specialty. Ask whether they have treated your type of condition before and how often. You want to know this because like other doctors, physical therapists also specialize in treating certain conditions.
What does this mean? Much like there are doctors that treat only heart related diseases or only the elderly or only children, physical therapists also have similar specializations. Thus, you can have your hip or knee pain treated by an orthopedic specialist or if you’re elderly you can go to a geriatric specialist instead. Depending on your specific condition you can go with a specific physical therapist in order to have it treated.
Ask if the therapist you are currently meeting with will be the one to handle your treatments all the way. This is also important because each clinic has their own set ways of doing things – not all of them always for your own good.
Some rotate physical therapist per patient. This means that the person you have this week may not be the same one to take care of you when you return for your next session. Even if this is the case as long as they are licensed physical therapists then it is still good.
What’s bad is if they let a physical therapist assistant do all of your rehabilitation. Even if they are following the instructions and program set up by the physical therapists, the latter should still do some of the sessions if only to assess just how much you’ve improved over the last few sessions.
In connection with this you may also want to ask whether the therapist sees only one patient per session or many. You may be the type of person who wants to be the only attention of a doctor or specialist so if the therapist handles 2 or 3 people per session then you may want to look for someone else.
Finally, ask how long a condition such as the one you have can be taken care of. That is to say, how long before you see the results of the program. Even if just a little you do want some idea so you know if you’re making any progress or not.
Know more from Deborah Koval.