How Do I Pick A Good Physical Therapist?

By Ben Loomis – DSC_9441.jpg, CC BY 2.0,

10 Things to Know Before Choosing Your PT

On the way to healing from an accident or surgery and getting you back to (or even better than) how you were before, recovery is a vital part. In the area of physical therapy, there are a large number of experts claiming expertise.

A physical therapist (PT), however, is the best trained and most skilled of those. If you’ve never done it before and don’t really know what to look for, deciding on a PT can be difficult.

In this post, before selecting your PT, we will highlight the ten most important things you need to know to ensure you optimize your chance for a complete recovery and return to pre-injury work.

  1. Make sure that you receive physical therapy from a certified physical therapist

The single most important consideration in choosing a PT is to ensure that he or she is a certified physical therapist, according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Both physical therapists must have a degree from an officially approved physical therapy program in order to practice, and must have passed their national licensing test. When delivering your treatment, your therapist can work with a physical therapy assistant (PTA). Qualified, accredited practitioners are also PTAs.

  1. Do your research!

Various forms of specialisation, such as sports medicine, back and/or neck strain and joint replacement, are provided by different outpatient clinics. Specific skills and additional fields of certification may be offered by their PTs, ranging from paediatric nursing to geriatric patient therapy. To get as much information as required for you to make an informed decision, call and visit as many clinics as you can.

Larger activities in this way would also segment their offices as well. They can, for instance, have a location focused on geriatric therapy and another where a specialty is hand or occupational therapy.

  1. Choose a physical therapist that you get along with

Physical therapy is a relationship that requires regular therapist-patient dialogue. Working with someone you have a good friendship with, and someone you feel secure with, is imperative. As a patient, you are still responsible for the healing process, and if you have a good and trustworthy working relationship with your therapist and are willing to obey their advice, the chances of a full recovery would be greater. Communication that is transparent and truthful is important.

  1. Know who you’ll be seeing and when

If you are going to see the same physical therapist with every visit, it is important to find out from every clinic viewpoint. Here, consistency is important. In order to repair the engine, imagine taking your car to a new mechanic every week! You should always know that your PT, present and calm, is giving you their full attention. A PT running around anxious and distracted between patients is the last thing you need. You should express your concern if you ever feel uneasy or if an exercise or procedure is painful.

  1. Your physical therapist should have great manual skills

To mobilize, catalyze and enhance functions that can not be accomplished by stretching or strengthening alone, the best PTs use their hands. Such hands on abilities make it possible to treat scar tissue more quickly and to relieve areas of inflammation and discomfort. The best combination is potent and gentle hands.

  1. Receive the right recovery training to do at home

In the recovery phase, you will be an involved participant. It is also important that your PT gives you well-developed and thorough guidance for performing exercises on your own. This can include handouts, photographs, or links to online videos showing the movements that are correct. It’s the responsibility of the PT to make sure that you perform the recovery exercises correctly.

  1. Identify a specialized physical therapist

It can be highly helpful to find a physical therapist who is APTA Board Certified in a specialty specific to your problem. Many physical therapists are interested in the research and practice of particular areas of the body, such as the back, spine, knee, hands, or shoulders, being handled. They may specialize in pre- or post-operative treatment, sports injuries, auto accidents, recovery of strokes or neurological disorders in their practice.

  1. Find a well-equipped clinic

It is paramount to find a facility that is fully prepared to provide professional services. Although most outpatient physical therapy facilities provide simple therapies (thermal, sound and electrical therapies), some are more up-to – date than others with equipment and exercise machines. A clinic’s operating hours are a primary concern. Many regimes of physical therapy enable a patient for up to six weeks to attend the clinic two or three times a week. If you have a busy schedule, like most, the availability of appointment times, as well as extended opening hours and/or weekends, can be crucial to your decision. 

  1. Insurance

If healthcare is a major concern for you, make sure that the clinic of your physical therapist is involved with your insurance policy and company. In order to receive treatment from a physical therapist, you can not spend more than you have to.

  1. Your first visit

A comprehensive review of your PT should require your first visit to an outpatient physical therapist. Your physical therapist will collect your medical history, conduct an assessment to determine existing and future conditions and functional limits, and find out what your priorities are. To get you back on track, they will then sit down with you and draw up a practical and concrete plan.

You want the best physical therapist in your corner to get you back to 100 percent after a serious accident or surgery. At times, the method of choosing one can be overwhelming, and doing your homework is the way to find the perfect PT. First and foremost, to allow and inspire them to be the best they have ever been, a physical therapist should possess excellent interpersonal skills and be passionate about caring for patients. Ask questions and do your studies. Before making a final decision, it’s your right to get all of the information you can.

Are You Looking for Relief From Neck Pain? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical neck pain relief and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. We start by assessing the body as a whole. Oftentimes the cause of pain or an injury extends far beyond just the body part or muscle hurting. Without taking a comprehensive look at your entire self, we would be doing you a disservice in fully helping you heal and preventing future limitations. We then move on to fixing your areas of limitation.  Not all diagnoses are created equal. One person with neck pain may have completely different limitations than the next person. Your recovery program needs to be specific to what YOUR body needs and not just the typical exercise program that you can find online. Just because your pain decreases or you can walk longer doesn’t mean that it is enough to get you functioning at the level you want to be. While this often signifies the end of care at your typical PT clinic we don’t stop providing guidance until we help you successfully meet every goal you set for yourself with us on day one. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!