Ways to impress your Physical Therapist!

I’m kind of hard to impress at times, especially when it comes to patients. Every now and then a patient will come in and blow me away. And to be honest they are the ones that do really well during their entire treatment with me. Here are a few things that you can do to try and impress your Physical Therapist!

1. Be familiar with your health insurance coverage:

Let’s just be frank…It’s your insurance! You chose this particular plan whether it was through work, on your own or even through a free service. You chose this plan and what it entails. Try to call the number on the card and ask about insurance benefits for physical therapy. Get familiar with your coverage. Do you have a co-pay? Do you have a deductible? Do you have co-insurance and if you even have coverage that supports coming to physical therapy? Becoming familiar with this will help you understand when the office manager explains that you have a co-pay or payment due at time of service. This prevents surprises.

2. Know a little bit about your current problem or surgery that you just had:

If you have a surgery please don’t come in and have no idea what the doctor did. Don’t be afraid to ask questions from your doctor. I have patients come in after back surgery and have no clue what the surgeon did. If you are getting cut open you better know exactly what the surgery entailed. Now, I have patients that come in with pain and want answers, I don’t expect them to know about their condition. But you can educate yourself on the body part that hurts to give you a bit of an advantage. We as physical therapists educate patients on a day to day basis. This will help to understand and grasp the problem a bit better.

3. Be willing to try things to get better:

Be prepared to do things that you have never done before. In order to get better sometimes you are going to be asked to do things that might be difficult, things might also be painful to do, but you have to be willing to do these things in order to improve.

4. Pay attention to explanations of your current problems:

We spend so much time educating patients on their bodies, their problems, where their pain is coming from and how we plan to fix it. It can be very frustrating to explain all of this multiple times and have the same questions. This can also help in the process making it easier for you to understand what we are doing at each phase of treatment.

5. Have a grasp of your home exercise program the next time you come in for treatment: 

When we give you “homework” to do it means you should do it. Home exercise programs are a big part of your treatment. The more you do it the better off that you will be. It sets a good example if you are familiar with the exercises when you come back for your next visit. Ask questions about the exercises and how they work different ways.

6. Stay off of your cell phone during treatment:

One of my biggest problems is a cell phone during treatment. I have no problem if you have to take a phone call if it is an emergency. If you are riding the exercise bike or on heat or ice and are on your phone no problem. I do have a problem if I am trying to evaluate you or treat you and you are trying to talk to someone at the same time. Also, if you are doing an exercise and talking on the phone chances are you are not doing it properly. Please! Please! Please! Put the phone down and pay attention. It sends a bad message to your Physical Therapist and seems like you are not committed to getting the help that you need.

If you only do a few of these it will impress just about any PT that you see. It’s the little things that help. When you can streamline things the flow of treatment is so much smoother!

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