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What to Expect from Physical Therapy

At Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation, our physical therapists (PT) provide targeted, patient-focused care at dozens of locations throughout Greater Houston.

The majority of our physical therapists have doctoral degrees and many have advanced board certifications in an area of specialty practice, including:

  • Orthopedics
  • Geriatrics
  • Women’s health
  • Sports medicine
  • Hand therapy

Throughout your physical therapy, our dedicated therapists will guide you through the process, keeping you motivated and focused on the finish line. Whether you’re an elite athlete looking to up your game or a patient recovering from surgery or injury, you will receive the highest level of care, personalized to help you meet or exceed your specific goals.

Your First Visit

If you’ve never been to physical therapy, you may be unsure of what to expect. Rest assured, we’re here to make the process as stress-free as possible, and we’re happy to answer any questions you have along the way.

To save time during your initial appointment, you can print out the following forms and have them ready to go when you arrive:

During your first visit, you will meet with a physical who will assess your current condition, ask questions about your medical history and help you complete a functional self-assessment survey. These steps will help your therapist learn more about you and your previous treatment history, including what’s  worked for you in the past – and what hasn’t.

Your therapist will also talk to you about your personal goals during the evaluation process, and he or she will use this information to guide your treatment going forward. This is arguably the most important part of your assessment, as it will help shape your exercise regimen and keep you motivated during your recovery. All of this information is vital for your physical therapist to create a collaborative treatment plan that will set you up for success.

After the assessment, you’ll be given a thorough physical exam to gauge the extent of your current abilities and to pinpoint what provokes or relieves your pain. This examination will provide your therapist with a set of baseline measurements against which they will check your progress moving forward. Using these initial measurements and surveys, you will be reassessed on a monthly basis and updated on your progress.

Common Questions About Physical Therapy

What Do I Bring to My Physical Therapy Session?

In addition to the completed Initial Visit Questionnaire and Medical Summary List forms, you should bring the following information with you to your first physical therapy appointment:

  • Doctor’s referral
  • Insurance card
  • Personal identification (such as a driver’s license)
  • Payment information (including proof of insurance)
  • Worker’s Compensation claim number and case manager contact information (if applicable)

Do I Need a Referral from My Doctor to See a Physical Therapist?

A physician’s order is required to receive physical therapy.

The following licensed healthcare providers can give you a referral for physical therapy:

  • Primary care physicians
  • Surgeons
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Dentists

If you do not already have a referral, please visit http://www.memorialhermann.org/find-a-doctor/to schedule an appointment with an affiliated physician.

What Type of Clothing Should I Wear?

If you have a lower extremity (knee and ankle) injury, you should wear shorts or some type of clothing that can be rolled up easily for treatment.

Patients with upper extremity complaints (shoulder, elbow, hand) should wear a tank top or loose T-shirt and sports bra to allow full assessment of motion, from the shoulder blades down to the hands.

In all other cases, you may choose any attire as long as it’s loose-fitting and comfortable. Many of our facilities have locker rooms where patients can change, making it easy and convenient to fit in therapy sessions during the workday. Please contact your specific physical therapy location for details on accommodations and any specific needs for your appointment.

How Long Do Visits Usually Last?

Your first visit will take about an hour, plus any additional time needed to complete new patient paperwork prior to your scheduled appointment time. After your initial evaluation, follow-up treatment sessions will vary in length depending on your needs and your therapist’s recommendations. If you have any time constraints, please discuss these with your therapist at the end of your first appointment, so we can set a treatment schedule that works best for you.

How Many Physical Therapy Sessions Will I Need?

The total number of therapy sessions needed for successful treatment varies from patient to patient. Ultimately, it will be determined on a case-by-case basis after evaluating your needs and goals, your therapist’s clinical recommendations and your referring provider’s expectations.

On average, most patients attend therapy sessions 1-2 times each week, with post-operative patients visiting slightly more often during the first few months of their care. Your therapist will evaluate your progress on a monthly basis, and together you will determine the frequency and duration of your ongoing treatment.

Is Physical Therapy Painful?

The ultimate goal of physical therapy is pain relief and restoration of function and mobility. While you may find some parts of the rehabilitation and recovery process more difficult than others, our therapists will work closely with you to minimize your discomfort as much as possible.

Make sure to communicate openly with your therapist about your pain levels during and after treatment sessions. This will help your therapist to make adjustments as needed to allow continued progress toward your ultimate therapy goals.

Convenient Physical Therapy at Memorial Hermann

With over 40 locations throughout Greater Houston and a centralized scheduling system, Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation makes it convenient to find a licensed physical therapist near you.

Use our online ScheduleNow tool or fill out the Become a Patient form on this page to schedule your initial evaluation today.

Please note: a physician referral is required. Don’t have a referral? Find a doctor at http://www.memorialhermann.org/find-a-doctor/