Physical therapy evaluations can be daunting, especially for first-time visitors, but they are quite straightforward. The following points will explore what one should expect during an evaluation
The therapist will need certain information to accurately inform their evaluation, such as your medical history and the ailments that you are currently suffering from. This will be broadened further into a discussion on specifics about the pain, such as its severity, its general location, and how intensely or otherwise it manages to disrupt your day-to-day life. There will also likely be a discussion on what you hope to accomplish with physical therapy. This can be very beneficial in helping the therapist understand what therapeutic approach will be most effective.
Following the preliminary discussions, the full evaluation will begin. This procedure will include a variety of tests and observations, the first of which is essential, as the therapist will likely perform a palpation, which will help in discovering the pain’s specific location and how strong it is. The larger category of the pain is then detected, which will determine the nature of the therapy that is necessary moving forward. For example, a sprain would generally be an acute pain, which will gradually heal as the affected tissue ends. Chronic pain, on the other hand, typically lasts for a much lengthier period of time. Due to the emotional distress often caused by chronic pain, psychological therapy will normally be suggested to go along with the physical treatments.
The therapist will likely change the position of various surrounding joints in order to detect how limited your movements might be in certain areas. This will result in a broader understanding of what might trigger the pain, such as sitting down. Your muscles will be examined extensively to judge response timing, strength, and how the muscle reacts to pressure. This will illuminate whether there are any neurological problems, such as dulled reflexes or heightened sensitivity to touch.
The therapist will inquire about the exact type of pain you’re experiencing through a structural diagnosis. This type of diagnosis aims to identify where the pain is occurring. For instance, if the pain centers around back pain, such as low back pain, the therapist may be able to pinpoint the exact problem, and what kind of therapy is needed. This type of diagnosis is especially useful if the pain is created by a fall or similar traumatic event. If you’re suffering from a meniscus tear or other injury similar to this, a structural diagnosis will find the anatomy that’s been directly affected.
There are times when a structural diagnosis may not be enough to identify what the cause of the issue is. If this is the case with your injury, such as back pain, a functional diagnosis may be provided as well. This diagnosis will look specifically at your current movements in order to get a better idea of what the problem might be. If you have low back pain that only occurs when you sit down, this could help the therapist determine the exact cause of your pain.
Once the physical exam has taken place, and the therapist has found the underlying issue for your pain, the therapist will then decide what you can do to alleviate the pain. For example, if lower back pain is the primary issue, a different type of chair or bed may be necessary for you, so that your back pain doesn’t worsen. With the right support for your lower back, your pain can begin healing. Not everyone will benefit from similar self-care procedures, as even the same type of pain can result in a different self-cafe diagnosis.
Overall, this is what you should experience from a physical therapy evaluation. Some evaluations can take longer than others, depending on the tests administered and how obscure the type of pain is. By the end of the evaluation, you and your therapist should have a full understanding of what types of treatment will be required to start the recovery process.