January 21, 2018

What should I expect during my physical therapy evaluation?

Sports Physiotherapist Treating Male ClientHow do I make the most of my physical therapy evaluation?


What questions will I be asked by my physical therapist?


As physical therapists we cannot be so blind to assume everyone knows what services we can provide and what diagnoses we are capable of treating.  So whether you have been through therapy before or are going for the first time here are a few things to consider before your first visit with your therapist:

-Where is your pain and how does it change based on activity?
While this may seem like a common sense question sometimes its difficult to pin point. Giving your therapist an accurate “map” of your current symptoms, (whether they seem related or not) and knowing how those symptoms respond to activity (like sitting, walking, yard work, housework etc.) or time of day (less pain in the morning vs. evening etc) can help your therapist guide treatment to best fit your complaints.

-Do you have any imagining?

If you have had any traumatic event or surgical procedure any imaging can be helpful in helping your therapist understand the problem at hand. If you have any pain that came on in the absence of trauma and have related imaging it can help confirm what your therapists finds in the exam.

-Write down questions.

So often there are questions we intend to ask ahead of a medical visit however when the time comes we easily forget or perhaps are too embarrassed/intimidated to ask. If you make a note of questions ahead of time you can address them more easily with your therapist. That said, you may find your visit generates more questions you didn’t know you had, about your diagnosis, about the home program etc. that may not occur to you that day. Write them down, and bring them for your next visit.

Consider how involved you want to be with your improvement. While there are numerous hands on activities/treatments that your therapist can perform to improve your pain/symptoms, much of the work is done at home with a specialized home program. If there are any conflicts with being able to perform a home program like long work hours, caring for your children or perhaps other physical limitations, let your therapist know so they can brainstorm the best way for you to maximize your home program.

K. Schultz


  1. I agree that helping a physical therapist pinpoint the pain and when its onsets are is a great way to make sure that you are getting the best possible treatment. I know that a physical therapist is someone that makes sure that you can have full mobility and when you have pain and difficulty with your mobility it is important that your physical therapist knows that. To be able to recover as fast and effectively as possible you should also make sure to do all of the assignments that they give you.

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