So... you’re dealing with a pesky injury, having surgery, or looking to improve your function with daily activities...you need physical or occupational therapy! But now what?! Nowadays, you can walk into 5 different clinics, and receive five different treatment plans, with five different possible evaluations/prognosis. This is okay, but it just goes to show that not all therapy is the same!
Before you even hire a therapist, GO VISIT! Stop in, check out the place and ask any questions you have regarding injury. This is a great way to interview and gather a first impression before committing to the first session.
With that being said… Here’s 5 things you need to consider when looking for a therapist!
1. They Are Licensed!
Above all else, make sure you’re receiving care from a licensed therapist and/or Physical Therapist Assistant. Check for the license/degree on the wall, their business card, or website for credentials. The following are appropriate abbreviations for therapy fields including PT, MPT (Masters of Physical Therapy) or DPT (Doctorate of Physical Therapy) and OTR/L (Occupational Therapist). This seems straightforward, however, there are places of service that may offer “physical therapy” by an individual without appropriate credentials. A physical or occupational therapist is a licensed professional that has passed board certification and rigorous schooling to diagnose impairments and treat musculoskeletal conditions and much more.
2. They Explain Simply and Effectively
A good rehab clinician should be able to succinctly and clearly provide you with explanations and treatment plans that are agreed upon and understood. You should be able to leave the evaluation with a clear idea of recovery time and the factors that play into the recovery estimation. A good PT will also be able to answer your questions with terminology and jargon you understand.
3. They Re-evaluate
Before starting on the bike, and heading straight into treatment without discussion can have an impact on your treatment. It is important to go over how you are feeling and discuss what struggles you are facing from the last treatment and what you improved on. It is very crucial to have an open discussion with the therapist to have the best possible outcome in your recovery. This ensures that both parties are on the same page and the treatment can be directed accordingly.
4. They Provide Value!
This one is huge! Remember you are going for a reason….to increase function, to decrease pain, and to return to some level of activity. The therapist should be showing you every so often where you were vs where you are now and how it relates to your goals. At the end of therapy you should feel like your time and money is worth the value being provided! Now it is important to remember that slow progress is still progress and every situation is different from someone else's. Multiple factors can play a role in rehabilitation time. Bottom line is it takes time to recover and you have to trust your therapist to ensure the results you want.
5. You Feel Heard
As a patient, remember you have a choice in your rehabilitation. Take control of your health and make sure to tell the full story and provide information that is important to the injury. By doing that your provider can make a correct diagnosis and plan going forward. We never want it to be the case where you feel confused and left unheard. That is why it is important to pick a therapist that you feel comfortable with and both feel like you are on the same page.
Providing 1 on 1 Care
One on one care is not only important, but it should be the standard in physical therapy. After all, we are professionals and by getting treatment with us we are able to give proper feedback, cueing and make modifications so you don’t end up in more pain and dysfunction. Sure, physical therapy technicians are great in some capacity but it is important to have a licensed therapist/therapist assistant helping in your rehabilitation and getting you back to your prior level of function.
These are just 6 of the many aspects of an exceptional therapist and clinic. Hopefully this helps your search. Let us know if you have any questions regarding your care! As always, stop by and check us out!