Your First Physical Therapy Session

What to expect during your first physical therapy session

If you have already made your appointment then you have taken the first step on your journey towards healing through physical therapy. Here you can learn what to expect during your first visit.

If you have not scheduled your appointment, give us a call. We are happy to discuss your pain over the phone or in-person, and then you can decide if physical therapy is right for you.

What time should I arrive to physical therapy?

When you make your appointment, you will be asked to arrive to your first session about 15-30 minutes before the appointment begins. This is to allow time to fill out the insurance and health background paperwork that is necessary for your appointment. If you prefer to fill out the forms in advance, you can download our patient packet here.

What should I wear to physical therapy?

We want you to be comfortable during your session. That means no open-back hospital gown unless absolutely necessary. You can help by wearing clothing that is not only comfortable, but allows your physical therapist to access to the location of your pain. For example: If you are visiting for a shoulder injury, wear a shirt with loose, short sleeves or a sleeveless shirt.

What happens during a physical therapy session?

During your first session, you will be working face-to-face with your physical therapist for approximately 45-60 minutes. First, the two of you will just talk. Your physical therapist will want to know more about the pain, discomfort or injury you are experiencing. You can expect questions such as:

  • When and how did the problem start?
  • What movements or activities make the pain worse?
  • What movements or activities help to relieve the pain?
  • What pain relief treatments or remedies have you already tried and what were the results?

Next, your physical therapist will guide you through a series of movements and tests designed to evaluate your limitations and determine the precise cause and location of your pain.

Finally, your physical therapist will talk with you about a treatment approach to help you get back to your everyday life.

What’s next?

You will discuss and agree upon your treatment approach before moving forward. Because your treatment is customized to your problem, the approach and number of additional visits will vary. Often, treatment plans also include at-home exercise to help you get better, faster.

PS: Don’t forget to bring your insurance card to your first visit! Learn more about insurance coverage for physical therapy here.

“The professional care and concern for my improvement was outstanding. The most memorable thing about my treatment was – The humor and kindness throughout the entire staff.”

– Paula H., Excel Physical Therapy Patient