Guide to Your First PT Visit

What happens on my FIRST visit ?

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  1. Arrive at your appointment along with your completed paperwork  (download it from our website - see the paperwork or forms link)
  2. Bring along you prescription for physical therapy if you have been referred by your doctor OR If you are seeking care directly without a referral (DIRECT ACCESS), we will want to know more about your past treatment for the condition(s) you are asking for help with.
  3. We will copy your insurance card and driver's license.
  4. A licensed physical therapist will see you and perform your initial evaluation.

(The therapist will discuss the following as part of your evaluation)

-Your medical history.

-Your current problems/complaints.

-Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.

-How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.

-Your goals with physical therapy.

-Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.


The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:

-Palpation - touching around the area of the pain/problem. This is done to check for the presence of tenderness, swelling, soft tissue integrity, tissue temperature, inflammation, etc.

-Range of Motion (ROM) - the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.

-Muscle Testing - the therapist may check for strength and the quality of the muscle contraction. Pain and weakness may be noted. Often the muscle strength is graded. This is also part of a neurological screening.

-Neurological Screening - the therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, sensing touch, pain, vibration, or temperature. Reflexes may be assessed as well.

-Special Tests - the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.

-Posture Assessment - the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.


A list of problems you are having will be summarized, and a determination will be made of how to best treat those problems. A plan is developed with the patient's primary goals as a focus. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy. This plan is essential for you to understand what the intended outcome of your treatment will be, it is created with input from you and your therapist.


What do I to bring with me ?

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-Your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor) and your payment information.  If you don't have a REFERRAL, Click here for instructions on how to see us without needing a referral. (scroll to bottom of page)  

-If your insurance is covering the cost of physical therapy, bring your insurance card

-If you are covered by Workers' Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager's contact information

-If you are covered by auto insurance or an attorney lien, make sure you bring this information.  

-A list of your medicines is helpful to provide during your evaluation.

-Wear or bring loose fitting clothing that will allow the therapist to examine the parts of your body that may require measurement or treatment.  

-If you are seeking care under the new Direct Access law to see a therapist without a referral (See section HERE on HOW TO SEE US WITHOUT A REFERRAL) ensure you can provide detail of what care you have received if any prior to seeking an appointment with the physical therapist.

-If you downloaded our new patient paperwork, please fill out in advance and bring with you.  Provide this to our front desk on arrival to speed up your initial visit.