What to Look for in a Physical Therapist
So you’ve finally decided that you need to see a physical therapist about that nagging pain that keeps you from doing the things you want to do – congratulations! That’s your first step toward feeling better and moving better, but how do you choose the right physical therapist for you? You may be referred to a PT by a doctor, but ultimately who you work with is up to you. Use these guidelines to help you make the right decision.
Choose a Certified Physical Therapist
The American Physical Therapy Association reports that the single most important factor determining your success is a licensed physical therapist. Licensed physical therapists are required to obtain a degree from an officially recognized physical therapy program and must complete a national licensing examination in order to practice. Make sure your physical therapist is a qualified, certified professional. Did you know you can look up your physical therapist to learn more about them? Click on the link “Find a Physical Therapist” under the heading “Why Physical Therapy?”
Learn About Your Physical Therapist’s Specialties
Different clinics and therapists may offer various types of specialization – a physical therapist may focus on sports medicine, back or neck strains, joint replacement, or other areas. Some physical therapists offer special skills and additional certifications, from pediatric care to geriatric therapy. At Move Better we pride ourselves on the quality of our therapists. All of our therapists are expert clinicians who are either Board-Certified Orthopedic Specialists (OCS) or in the process of pursuing certification through post-graduate training and mentoring programs. Larger practices may include therapists who specialize in many different areas. Call your physical therapist’s office to find out what kind of specialized services are offered.
Get to Know Your Therapist
The relationship between physical therapist and patient is a vital part of success. You and your therapist should have a good rapport, and you should feel comfortable talking about how you feel and what your abilities are. Open and honest communication between therapist and patient is the key to a good working relationship. It is also important that you know who you’ll be seeing for each therapy session. You want to see the same therapist every time to create a consistent plan and monitor your progress accurately. Your therapist should be able to give you their undivided attention rather than running around distractedly between multiple patients.
Choose a Well-Equipped Facility
Your physical therapist’s facility is an extremely important part of your success. The right equipment can help you make better progress more quickly, and access to that equipment is key. Access to the facility is equally important. Many physical therapy plans require you to perform exercises multiple times during a week, and you may need to visit the facility to use the equipment you need. Check that your physical therapist offers hours that suit your schedule so that you can access the equipment you need to practice your exercises regularly.
Perhaps the most effective way to find a physical therapist that is right for you is to read reviews by other patients. If your physical therapist has a website or a Google listing, you can read reviews to find out what patients who have been treated for conditions similar to yours have to say about a therapist. Remember that reviewers vary – a bad review here or there may have more to do with that specific patient, but the majority of reviews should be positive and encouraging.
Discuss Insurance or Payment Options
If you have insurance, you will want to make sure that your physical therapy office accepts your insurance and that you understand the coverage for the treatments you will receive. You may have to contact your insurance company to find out what services are covered. If you are not using insurance to pay for physical therapy, you will want to discuss payment options with the office before you schedule your first appointment. Some clinics offer payment plans to help make care more affordable.
Scheduling That Works for You
It’s important to continue your physical therapy appointments for as long as they are necessary. Physical therapy may last for several weeks or months, and you want to choose a physical therapist whose schedule works with your own. An inconvenient appointment time may be acceptable in an emergency or on a rare occasion, but if it is consistently difficult for you to get to your appointments, you are more likely to lapse and skip a session.
At Move Better, we are committed to helping you find the right treatment and the right therapist to help you make progress. Let us help you find the right fit so that you can Move Better! Call us at (434)-817-0980 to get started today.