Top 5 Questions Patients Ask Before Their First Physical Therapy Appointment


You have decided to take your health into your hands and have decided to visit a Physical Therapist.

But… What is a Physical Therapist? A PT is a movement expert who uses a hands-on approach to improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, manual therapy, and patient education.

Physical Therapist diagnose and treat individuals of all ages! That’s right, you can be a newborn or 100 years old to receive Physical Therapy. Many patients have injuries, disabilities, or other health conditions, but PT’s can also provide care for people who are simply looking to become a healthier version of themselves.

Do I Need a Prescription for Physical Therapy?

In short… if you live in the state of Florida, No. You can set up an appointment with a Physical Therapist as you would with your Primary Care Physician.

For example, if you have a musculoskeletal concern such as a sprained ankle or a sore back, you can save time and money by setting up an appointment directly with a Physical Therapist to decrease and manage pain and put you on track.  By visiting a PT directly, you skip the hassle and the waiting of scheduling with your PCP to then write a prescription for physical therapy to manage your pain.

Sounds too good to be true? Here is what the law says:

The state of Florida Direct Access Law says a Physical Therapist may implement a plan of treatment for 30 days. After 30 days the physical therapist shall refer the patient to or consult with a practitioner of record if the patient’s condition is found to be outside the scope of the physical therapy.

Well… what happens if your condition is improving, but it is taking longer than 30 days? 

If physical therapy treatment of a patient is required beyond (30) days for a condition not previously assessed by a practitioner of record, the physical therapist shall have a practitioner of record review and sign the plan.
BUT, if you already have seen your Physician and they recommended PT then we can continue to see you past 30 days.

What Should I Bring With Me To My First Visit & What Do I Wear?

At your first appointment please remember to:

  •  Have your ID, any current medical records or medication lists pertaining to your condition or injury
  • If you already have a prescription from a Physician- go ahead and bring it to your Orientation and Evaluation.
  • If you would like, you can review, print, and fill out Patient Intake Forms at home so we can use our time more efficiently in the first visit.
  • Have any splints or assistive devices that you may be using due to an injury or disability

As for what to wear, it is important that you are comfortable. Wear clothes and footwear you can move around in.  We will be moving, stretching, and exercising in our sessions. 

  • Shoulder injuries: wear a tank top or a loose T-shirt
  • Lower extremity injuries: shorts or loose pants that can be pulled over the knee and are comfortable to stretch or exercise in.
  • If you are at work or coming from work, we suggest having a quick change of clothes to keep from wrinkling your professional attire. You might sweat, so bringing deodorant and sprays are always suggested.
  • Appropriate footwear is important! Closed-toed athletic shoes are recommended to be able to perform exercises.
How Long Are PT Sessions?

Mobile in-person physical Therapy sessions are about 60 minutes.

By not using insurance, Dr. Bornemann is able to create a program for you that is not limited based on the number of visits your plan allows, the treatments that insurance accepts, or how often the insurance thinks you should be seen for therapy. 

Will PT exercises hurt?

Physical Therapy is not intended to be a painful experience, in fact PT is prescribed often as a pain management tool to decrease pain.
But, in order to reach this goal, sometimes the PT will stretch your muscles and have you do exercises that cause a little discomfort or maybe leave you sore the next day.
This is normal and to be expected, but know when this discomfort is too much. If you are having Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS for >24-48 hours, let your PT know, they will be able to modify your exercises to decrease the level of soreness you feel after sessions.

What Happens If My Problem or Pain Returns? Will I ever feel 100% ?

Well, it depends…. Will you trust the process?  Because Physical Therapist provide individual care based on your exact presentation, it is hard to say. Each person and each condition is different and we cannot guarantee 100% return in all motion or in reduction of all your pain.

However, Physical Therapy has been proven to help patients regain sufficient mobility after surgery and decrease pain levels of those with chronic pain. Your PT plan of care might look different than someone else’s,  but your plan will include individualized exercises and manual therapy that target your area of pain to help you move and feel better.  Will the pain return?  Will I feel 100% again?  The question is, will you trust the process?  Physical Therapy takes commitment, time and effort on the patients part, but we can take you in the right direction to get you back to a healthier, more mobile version of yourself.

If you are ready to take your health a priority, fill out the form below and schedule an appointment with Dr. Bornemann, PT, DPT, SFMA, GTS

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