Five Questions to Ask Your Physical Therapist 

When you first set foot in a rehab facility, it can be quite daunting, not knowing what to expect. So many questions can run through your mind. Does physical therapy even work? How do I know my therapist will prove me with the best care?’ Physical rehab facilities offer a wide range of recovery services, offering you the best chance at remaining in good health.

Like most doctors, a physical therapist will ask you some questions to get a better sense of your condition, so that they can help you live the best life you possibly can.

Based on current trends and consultation with Dr. Christopher Wittman, licensed physical therapist and the Outpatient Clinical Coordinator at The GreenFields Health and Rehabilitation Center, here are some questions to ask your physical therapist at the beginning of your treatment, to help you get a better understanding of the process.  


1. What’s wrong with me? Why am I in pain?

This may be one of the more difficult questions to answer, but it’s important to figure out the “what” of why you’re in this condition. “The way your therapist responds should give you some insight into how well they know what ails you, and help alleviate any fears,” says Dr. Wittman. “In addition to asking about your problem, the physical therapist will do an assessment of your condition, including a plan with a set of goals to keep you most limber.”

The path one takes towards recovery isn’t always a linear one. It takes time and patience to see results. This is why it’s important to remain consistent with your physical therapy so that you can see the best results. Regardless of how much experience and knowledge your therapist has, it’s a two-way street. The amount of effort and time you put into your treatment will only help you that much more.


2. What is your expertise? What experience do you have with my condition?

According to Wittman, “Getting to know your physical therapist will help you better understand what your new routine might look like. It also allows you the opportunity to reflect on the causes of your pain. It may debunk any myths you may have heard about what your physical therapy entails. This may open up a conversation about the possible causes of what hurts or discomforts you.”

When coming up with a treatment plan, it’s important to let your therapist know of any other pain or issues you may have with their recommended treatment. Even if the treatment is there to help you, it won’t do any good if you’re already in pain from a previous injury or strain. Open communication is key, take everything into consideration while maintaining and keeping up with your long-term treatment goals.


3. Will you be my therapist every time?

You want to keep things consistent, and that’s completely understandable. You also want to have to rapport with your therapist because they know your stamina, mindset, and range of motion best. It may not always work out, but it’s important to know who your therapists are and what they bring to the table. 


4. How long will it take for me to recover?

This isn’t always a straightforward answer, as your physical therapist will usually have had similar experiences that they can draw upon for reference. Your physical therapist should give you an estimate, with a recommendation on the frequency of sessions every week. As a patient, it can be difficult and frustrating to see your progress, but you must be just that – patient, with yourself, and the regimen you’ve been exercising.


5. What will my therapy sessions be like?

“The first session will be preliminary assessing your problem and going over your medical history,” says Dr. Wittman. “Your physical therapist will want to know what events transpired that led to your condition, what disrupts or relives your symptoms, and how your condition impacts your daily life. Then the physical therapist will conduct a physical exam containing palpation, range of motion, strength, balance, neurological screening, and any other tests pertaining to your condition.” These tests will help to confirm and rule out other problems that may be related to your condition.

When you have all the information in place before starting a specialized treatment plan, the rest of the process will come much more naturally. According to Wittman, “You need to consider many different factors before making a necessary treatment decision. All these considerations go hand-in-hand, and it’s important to look at everything before making the final decision. Over time, your treatment may also change. It’s important to have a strong initial plan of attack when making these decisions.”

After this, you can begin to start your regular treatment sessions.  Your physical therapist will ask you questions about your pain level and mobility in order to customize the right treatment plan for you.

Getting physical therapy allows patients to maintain and restore their health. It can also prevent any long-term effects from taking place. Knowing what to look out for and what questions to ask, can help you make the right decisions down the line.


About The GreenFields Continuing Care Community:

The GreenFields Continuing Care Community in Lancaster, NY provides residential living at GreenField Manor and assisted living at GreenField Court. GreenField Terrace provides memory care and enhanced assisted living. GreenField Health & Rehabilitation Center provides 24-hour skilled nursing care, dementia care, respite care and myriad rehabilitation services.


The GreenFields resident



5959 Broadway
Lancaster, NY 14086

The Niagara Lutheran Health System does not discriminate in the admittance of residents or the hiring of employees relative to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, sexual preference gender, gender identity, blindness, handicap, sponsor, marital status, or religion.

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