You’ve decided to stop living with pain and start doing physical therapy, congratulations! You probably have a lot of questions. You may be wondering what to expect, what questions you’ll be asked and so much more. In this article, we will get you prepared for the physical therapy process and help ease your mind. We will walk you through how to prepare for your first physical therapy appointment, what you will experience during your appointment and what to do afterward.

How do I prepare for my first physical therapy appointment?

The first thing to do before you start physical therapy is to learn what your options are and what your insurance covers. This means asking how the physical therapy clinic you’ve chosen bills and what, if anything, you will be expected to pay. A call to your insurance provider can typically set you in the right direction. The insurance representative will be able to identify if the clinic is covered by your insurance plan. Additionally, most physical therapy clinics allow you to call ahead with your insurance information and can give you an estimate of what you will be paying for each visit. Please understand, what you owe is based on what procedures are done during each session, so the clinic can only provide an estimate that is close to what you will owe.

At Momentum Physical Therapy, the billing process is very similar to what happens at your general practitioner’s office. We bill your insurance company, Workers’ Comp or charge you based on the Common Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes.

The billing form is sent to the payer, either via mail or electronically. Once the billing form is received the payer makes the payment in accordance with their agreed upon fee schedule. After the payer has paid, an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is created and sent to both the patient and Momentum Physical Therapy. If the EOB has a balance the patient is expected to pay it.

Before your visit, take a few minutes to sit down and think about what your symptoms are. Write down what makes your symptoms worse, how often you feel the pain and what reduces the pain. Be prepared to share what your current practices are for dealing with and preventing pain, and any stretches or workouts that worsen or improve the pain.

You will share your medical history and any injuries you’ve had with your physical therapist. Be prepared with a list of all the medication you take including over-the-counter medications, supplements, vitamins and prescription medication. Even if you don’t believe it relates directly to the pain you’re seeing your physical therapist about, still share it with them.

Before your appointment, visits the company website’s frequently asked questions page for any recommendations on the type of clothing you should wear. You’ll want to wear something you can move around in; workout clothes are typically a safe option. Be sure that your clothing makes it easy for your therapist to evaluate the area of pain, for example you may want to wear above the knee shorts for a knee problem or a tank top if you suffer from a shoulder problem.

What happens when you see a physical therapist?

If you are visiting one of the Momentum Physical Therapy locations, you will need to bring the following items:

  • Your physical therapy referral from your primary doctor
  • Your payment information
  • Your insurance card (if applicable)
  • Your Claim number and case manager’s information (if you are covered by Worker’s Compensation)
  • Auto insurance or attorney lien (if applicable)

The first thing your physical therapist will do is ask you questions about your health and history. At Momentum Physical Therapy, we make it easy by allowing you to download and fill out your forms before your visit. If you cannot fill out your paperwork before arriving at the clinic, please arrive 10-15 minutes early to allow time to do so. After you finish your paperwork, you will need to share the documents listed above (that apply to you) so they may be copied for our records.

These questions not only help the therapist determine if physical therapy is a good fit for you, but the best course of treatment as well. After getting your history, your physical therapist will perform a physical examination. Depending on the area of your pain, you may undergo tests to evaluate your balance, palpitation, flexibility, posture and strength.

With this information, your physical therapist will work with you to:

  • Evaluate your needs
  • Determine your goals
  • Determine your plan of action

What do I after my first physical therapy visit?

Physical therapy isn’t typically a one-and-done solution for pain. You may need to come back, and often complete at-home exercises. To have a successful experience with physical therapy, here are a few good habits to practice:

  • Show up for your appointments early or on time.
  • Do your homework. Sometimes your physical therapist will send you home with stretches and workouts. Do them!
  • Be apart of your treatment conversation. If you have a question, ask it. If you have a change (positive or negative), share it. Open communication with your physical therapist is vital for a successful experience.

If you’re ready for your first visit, contact Momentum Physical Therapy. We have 12 locations to better serve you!