Are you suffering from chronic lower back pain? Has this resulted in you having to miss a lot of work days?
If so, then know that you share the same woes with millions of other people in the United States. In fact, more than 31 million people experience these highly unpleasant sensations at any given time.
What’s more, this condition brings more than just pain and suffering. It’s also the top ranker when it comes to causes of disability all over the world.
All those days of pain have made you wonder what to expect at physical therapy. After all, you’ve heard and read about PT being one of the most effective ways to manage various types of chronic pain conditions.
Read this guide we’ve come up with so you can better understand this pain treatment, what it consists of, and how it can help you straighten your back up!
What Is Physical Therapy in the First Place?
First things first: What is physical therapy and what’s so special about it?
To put things in perspective, we’ll first give you a fast fact on the worth of the US PT industry:
A whopping $35 billion.
Considering that lower back pain is the second primary reason people in the US visit their doctors, you can already see why. And there’s also the $50-billion expenditure of Americans that go just towards back pain management and treatment.
The thing is, there are many other types of chronic pain conditions. Many of these, physical therapy can help with.
So how does PT fit into your chronic pain condition?
Physical therapy, at its core, helps not just manage pain, but address the source itself. One of the major reasons behind its popularity is the fact that it doesn’t involve surgery. In other words, you don’t have to undergo the knife just to experience relief from the debilitating impact of pain.
Furthermore, PT also helps prevent pain from worsening. This treatment also aids in lessening – even preventing – further instances of experiencing such highly unpleasant physical sensations. And because physical pain also has ties with psychological suffering, then it can help improve your overall health and well-being.
All this said, you can already see why physical therapy is a booming industry and why you should set up your first appointment as soon as possible.
What You Should Know Prior to Setting an Appointment
Whichever kind and source of pain you have, the first thing you need is advice from your primary physician. You should do this prior to making an appointment with a physical therapist.
In any case though, here are some of the primary reasons doctors recommend their patients to PTs:
- Repetitive injuries
- Long-term impact of poor workplace ergonomics
- Sports injuries
- Car accident injuries
For the last one, the most common kind of injury is whiplash. It’s most common in people involved in rear-enders. If you’ve recently been in such an accident, the pain you’re experiencing in your neck, shoulders, even back is most likely due to a whiplash.
What to Expect at Physical Therapy: Must Knows for Your First Appointment
Once you’ve received a go signal from your primary physician about getting physical therapy, next is to come in prepared.
Here are some strategies that’ll help you and your chosen PT get the most out of your treatment program.
Prepare Yourself to Answer Questions about Your Family and Medical History
This is important. For the simple reason that even the smallest things about your family health and own medical history can impact your treatment. Painting a complete picture of these histories can aid your PT in creating a more robust physical therapy program tailored to your needs.
Here are some of the most important things to note:
- Any type of medication, even supplements and vitamins, you currently take
- Any recent injury or stressful event that may have contributed to your pain condition
- The health and medical state of your parents, brothers, and sisters
- Details of your primary doctor so that the PT can better understand your overall health and well-being
Also, as you prepare to answer these questions, prepare your own inquiries. Like how long they’ve practiced PT and their specializations. It also pays to know about their experience in handling cases similar to yours.
Make a List of the Symptoms You Experience
Creating a list of all the symptoms you go through will make your first PT appointment go smoother. The physical therapist can map out these symptoms, and from here, find it easier to come up with the correct diagnosis.
You may think that you’ll remember every little detail about your condition. However, this isn’t always the case. Especially when it comes to recalling anything relevant to the development of your painful condition.
Some things to keep in mind are the specific sensations you feel, such as if you experience quick, stabbing pains or if they’re more on the dull pain side, but longer-lasting. Also, take note of the times of the day you usually feel these symptoms.
What You Wear to Your First Physical Therapy Appointment Matters
What to wear to physical therapy? This is something many first-time PT patients fail to consider. Keep in mind that in most cases, the initial physical therapy appointment already includes a physical examination. And to conduct this with ease, it’s best you wear loose-fitting clothes.
The physical therapist will ask you to perform some activities and exercises. These include those that measure your range of motion, muscle strength, flexibility, balance, motion patterns, and posture. As such, keep your clothes as comfy as possible.
And this doesn’t just go for your first appointment. Whenever you go for your PT treatments, it’s best you always wear such type of clothing.
Ready to Regain Control of Your Pain and Your Life?
For many, pain is fleeting. But for those who suffer from chronic conditions and injuries, it’s something that drastically impacts their way of life, not to mention its quality.
So, make sure you don’t delay setting up an appointment with a highly qualified PT as soon as your primary doctors give you permission. And, don’t forget to better understand what to expect at physical therapy before your first appointment.
We can help with your pain management and treatment. Request an appointment with our office now so we can start creating the best possible physical therapy treatment program for you.