I've never been to a physical therapist before. What happens during my first visit?

During your first visit to our clinic:

  • Please arrive 5-10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment with your paperwork completed (you can download it from this website using the "FORMS" tab above)
  • Provide us a copy of your prescription for physical therapy if it has not already been sent to us by your physician
  • Make your photo ID & insurance cards available for us to photocopy
  • Then, you will be seen for the initial evaluation by your therapist

First, you and your therapist will discuss the following:

  • Your medical history.
  • Your current problems/complaints.
  • Pain intensity/what aggravates and eases the problem.
  • How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
  • Your goals with physical therapy.
  • Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.

Next, your therapist will perform the objective evaluation which will likely include the following:

  • Observation - Your therapist will observe your standing posture and how it responds to simple movements, like walking or bending to the side. Observing how much movement is possible (called range of motion) and the quality of movement in the affected area gives further clues to the nature of your problem.
  • Palpation - a specialized technique that allows your therapist to feel and "see into" your musculoskeletal system. He/she palpates the skin, joints, and soft tissue, moving layer by layer through each structure to feel for tenderness, swelling, temperature, mobility, restriction, and spasm.
  • Testing - your therapist may perform routine tests for muscle strength, sensation, and range of motion. In some cases, such as with neck, back or neurological problems, special tests may also be needed. These include nerve response tests, sensation tests, and specialized muscle tests.

Then, based on the "data" from your evaluation, your therapist will develop a treatment plan that is geared to meet your individual needs, goals, abilities, and lifestyle.  The plan will include how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you may need therapy, home exercise programs, and short- and long-term therapy goals.

Last (but not least), your treatment will begin. Your therapist may combine several treatment methods, along with patient education and prevention, to help achieve your therapy goals.

What types of treatment will I receive?

There are dozens of treatment interventions. See our list of treatment interventions by clicking the following link:

Why should I go to physical therapy?

More than a quarter of all Americans are suffering from pain on a daily basis. Whether it is a recent episode or chronic, pain is a serious problem. However, many do not know that physical therapists are well equipped to not only treat pain but also its source. Physical therapists are experts at treating movement and neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Pain often accompanies a movement disorder, and physical therapists can help correct the disorder and relieve the pain.

Who pays for treatment?

In most cases, health insurance will cover the cost of your treatment. Sometimes there is a copay that is needed. Make sure you talk to our receptionist so we can help you clarify your insurance coverage.

What insurance plans are accepted at Sensible Wellness?

We participate with and accept most insurance plans and are Medicare certified. Please click on the "Insurance Participation List" link below to see the plans with which we work. If you have any questions regarding insurance coverage, please contact us.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

State law allows you to see a physical therapist without a physician's referral, but depending on your insurance, you may be required to get a referral from your physician before attending physical therapy.

What should I bring to my first appointment?

Make sure you bring your photo ID, your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor if applicable), the paperwork provided to you by the receptionist and a list of all the medications you are currently taking, including vitamins. If your insurance is covering the cost of physical therapy, bring your insurance card. If you are covered by Workers' Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager's contact information. If you are covered by auto insurance, make sure you bring this information.

What should I wear?

You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice. For low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt so we can perform a thorough examination.

What kind of training do physical therapists have?

As part of the practice act, a physical therapist holds a master's or doctorate degree from a professional physical therapy program that is accredited by a national accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and approved by the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy. Physical therapists are also required to participate in 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

How often will I be coming for physical therapy and for how long?

This is highly variable. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc. Your therapist will consult with your physician to determine length and frequency of care that is most appropriate for you. Your therapist will remain in close contact with your doctor throughout your treatment via progress notes and phone calls.

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