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How can physical therapy help?

What to expect

A physical therapist helps take care of patients in all phases of healing, from initial diagnosis through the restorative and preventive stages of recovery. Physical therapy may be a standalone option, or it may support other treatments.

Some patients are referred to a physical therapist by their doctor, but other seek therapy themselves.

Whichever way a patient come to a physical therapist, they can expect to:

  • Undergo a physical exam and evaluation, including a health history and certain testing procedures, including evaluation of posture, movement and flexibility, and of muscle and joint motion and performance
  • Receive a clinical diagnosis, prognosis, plan of care and short and long term goals
  • Receive physical therapy treatment and intervention based on the therapist’s evaluation and diagnosis
  • Receive self-management recommendations

Patients often train with a physical therapist in exercises that they can do at home, to help them function more effectively.

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