How to Make the Most of Your Relationship with Your Physical Therapist

By: Dr. Rachel Thomson, PT, DPT


The moment you make your first appointment for physical therapy is the same moment your relationship with your physical therapist begins, and it starts with YOU!


Personally, I always like to commence with my patients at their initial evaluation by letting them know I am there for THEM. How we spend your hour in Physical Therapy is your choice, and I always inform my patients that I want to give them the best experience I can. As Physical Therapists, it is our role to seek feedback and provide guidance and support for you as a patient in ways you may not even realize you need until you are going through Physical Therapy. We will become your cheerleader and teacher the moment you walk in the door, and the more we know about you, the more we can help! Here are a few keys to enhance your relationship with your physical therapist:


1. Reflect and gather the pertinent information you will want your physical therapist to know to best address your needs. This may include providing your Operation Report, X-Ray, or MRI results, your prescription, or even a list of when you feel unsteady or dizzy. Consider, if you have pain, what makes your pain worse and what makes your pain better?


2. Be specific and functional: How are you limited in your ability to fulfill your occupational or family roles or even care for yourself? A Physical Therapist wants to know what makes you you. I love making my treatment specific to my patients- i.e. bringing your high heels to the clinic, mimicking lawn bowling, going for a community walk. A Physical Therapist is a movement specialist; let us help you move the way you want to!


3. Dress for the occasion: Loose-fitting clothing will ease access to the specific body part physical therapy is addressing, as well as your ability to move and participate in exercises to supplement your care.


4. Give us feedback: Let us know what is and what is not working for you in our treatment sessions. The Physical Therapy Plan of Care and Treatment Plan is meant to be individual and specific to your needs. Thus, spontaneity and adaptation are characteristics we are all trained to implement for your care.


5. Lastly, do not be afraid to pick our brains. We are here to help problem-solve your movement or environmental setup to optimize your efficiency and ability to fulfill your life roles despite your potential hindrance. Let us help you no longer feel limited, but rather empowered and confident in yourself.




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