What to Expect On Your First Visit

What can I do before my first visit?

  • Make a list of any questions that you might have, so that you can make the best use of your time with your physical therapist.
  • Write down any symptoms you’ve been having and for how long. If you have more than one symptom, begin with the one that is the most bothersome to you.
  • Make specific notes about your symptoms. For example, is your pain or other symptom:
    • Better or worse with certain activities or movements or with certain positions, such as sitting or standing?
    • More noticeable at certain times of day?
    • Relieved or made worse by resting?
  • Write down key information about your medical history, even if it seems unrelated to the condition for which you are seeing the physical therapist.
  • Make a list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements that you are taking.
  • Write down and describe any injuries, incidents, or environmental factors that you believe might have contributed to your condition.
  • Make a list of any medical conditions of your parents or siblings.
  • Consider taking a family member or trusted friend along to help you remember details from your own health history and to take notes about what is discussed during your visit.
  • Make sure you can see and hear as well as possible. If you wear glasses, take them with you. If you use a hearing aid, make certain that it is working well, and wear it. Tell your physical therapist and clinic staff if you have a hard time seeing or hearing. For example, you may want to say, “I have difficulty hearing. It’s helpful to me when you speak slowly.”
  • If available, bring any lab or diagnostic reports from other health care professionals who have treated you for your current condition.
  • Bring a list of the names of your physician and other health care professionals that you would like your physical therapist to contact regarding your evaluation and your progress.