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What is physical therapy and what can you expect to happen in your physical therapy sessions?

In honor of Physical Therapy Month, we want to tell you a bit about what physical therapists (PTs) can do for you and what you can expect in your first PT sessions!

Who are physical therapists and what do they do?

PTs are experts in movement! We teach high quality movement tailored to each person's age, ability and physical demands. We do this through skilled application of manual therapy, exercise prescription, neuromotor re-education, and patient education.

What settings do physical therapists work in?

PTs work in a vast number of settings like schools, hospitals, rehab facilities, outpatient clinics and with sports teams. As you might also imagine, PTs can specialize in any number of areas including, but not limited to: pediatrics, neuro rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary rehab, intensive care, geriatrics, women's health, oncology and of course, performing arts physical therapy!

What can you expect to happen during your first PT appointment?

Your PT should ask you for a history of your symptoms and take you through an exam and evaluation. No matter the setting, your first visit will begin with a thorough assessment in order to better understand what is driving or contributing to your unique symptoms. Whatever the cause, understanding your personal situation is critical to your treatment success.

After taking a history, your PT should take you through a physical examination and evaluation. Their goal is to get an understanding of what is causing your symptoms so that they can chart a path to your full recovery. To do this, they will conduct a battery of tests and measures to see how you move and to get a sense of what provokes your pain.

At the end of your first appointment, your PT should lay out a plan for your recovery including how long they expect your rehab could take and what it will take to reach your goals.

Will there be homework?

You bet there will be! Your rehab requires teamwork. Your PT may ask you to do exercises, make lifestyle changes, track your steps, bring awareness to certain movement patterns or even ask you to do a little reading to deepen your understanding of your particular issue.

How long will I be in PT?

The answer to this question is truly patient and diagnosis specific. You can plan to be in PT for anywhere from a handful of visits to a number of months.

Do you have any more questions about how PT works? Feel free to get in touch with us by emailing

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