What Does Physical Therapy Involve?

Physical Therapy is a health profession that uses hands-on treatment techniques and exercises to help increase movement and relieve pain in people with injuries or illnesses. Licensed professionals called physical therapists treat all age groups.

Physical Therapy

Pure Physio PT is often used for back pain, joint problems, and heart or lung issues. It can also help people with chronic diseases manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

An evaluation is the first step for anyone seeking physical therapy. It is usually a 45-minute to an hour appointment and sets the stage for effective, individualized care. A thorough evaluation will allow your therapist to provide you with a diagnosis of your condition and formulate a treatment plan.

During the evaluation, your physical therapist will take your medical history. This will include information about your injury or pain, when it started, and any medications you may be taking. It is important to be honest and complete the entire history, as it can help your therapist develop a treatment plan that will work best for you.

After the medical history is completed, your therapist will do an examination of your muscles, joints, and ligaments. Depending on your age, they will observe how you roll, crawl, sit, stand and walk. The therapist will also use various tests to determine how much strength you have and how well you move.

Then your therapist will discuss with you the results of the evaluation and the diagnosis they have determined. They will also discuss with you a plan for your care, which will typically consist of specific exercises to reduce your pain and improve your mobility. Your therapist will also recommend some exercises that you can perform at home between sessions.

Your therapist will then schedule future appointments, which will be where they will implement the treatment they have developed. They will also recommend how often you should return to physical therapy for follow-ups.

A thorough physical therapy evaluation is a crucial element for defensible documentation that allows for appropriate reimbursement. While EMR systems have pushed human interaction to the background and the process of completing an evaluation is tedious, a solid evaluation can make the difference between receiving the care you need and missing out on valuable health benefits. By understanding the process and what to expect, you can have a more positive experience during your physical therapy journey. Whether you are new to physical therapy or an experienced clinician, a well-completed evaluation can help you create a rock-solid plan of care for your patient.


Physical therapy is often recommended as a way to reduce pain and manage injuries. It can help you avoid surgery and the need for prescription drugs, improve mobility and increase your overall health. Whether you have an obvious injury such as a knee ligament tear or a more insidious problem that develops over time, like chronic back or neck pain, you may benefit from the knowledge and expertise of a trained physical therapist.

During your initial visit, your therapist will complete an evaluation of your condition, including what movements or activities cause pain or limit your range of motion. They will also ask you about any medications you are taking and your medical history. It’s important to arrive at your physical therapy appointment prepared with any paperwork your practitioner might require, such as insurance information or claim numbers.

The therapist will create an individualized treatment plan for you that is designed to reduce your symptoms and improve the function of your body. Your therapist will likely prescribe a combination of active exercises — such as walking on a treadmill or hip strengthening exercises — and passive techniques, which involve applying gentle pressure to the affected area. They may also recommend a home exercise program, which consists of a series of exercises that you perform on your own between sessions in the clinic.

In addition, a physical therapist can provide you with treatment modalities, such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation and kinesiology taping. These are meant to reduce inflammation and promote circulation, which helps your body heal faster. They can also use a technique called dry needling, which involves placing short needles in your body to relieve muscle tension and trigger the release of healing substances.

Many physical therapists specialize in specific areas of the body. For example, some focus on sports injuries to help people return to their normal lives after a sports-related injury. Other physical therapists have special training in women’s health issues, such as pelvic pain and osteoporosis. They understand the unique musculoskeletal problems that can affect women at all stages of life and work to prevent and treat them.

Home Exercises

Home exercise programs, or HEPs, are a vital part of the physical therapy treatment process. They reinforce the work completed in-office and are updated throughout the course of treatment. They also help patients transition into managing their own health and wellness after treatment ends. Research shows that patients who comply with their HEPs experience faster recovery times and are more likely to achieve their functional goals.

Unfortunately, many patients struggle to adhere to their HEPs due to busy schedules and daily obligations. Whether they’re tired after a long day, or simply don’t feel like doing their exercises, lack of motivation can lead to inconsistent adherence. To overcome this obstacle, therapists must understand what motivates their clients to follow through with their exercise program and implement strategies to keep them motivated.

When creating a home exercise program, it’s important to include a clear description of each movement that explains its purpose and the expected outcome. This allows patients to make a connection between the exercise and their specific ailment or injury, which can improve motivation. Additionally, incorporating high-resolution photos of each exercise will allow patients to easily reference the movements they’re performing at home and ensure that they’re doing them correctly.

Another way to encourage adherence is by integrating each exercise into the client’s existing routine. By doing so, the exercise becomes more manageable and the client is more likely to commit to it. Additionally, therapists can use their knowledge of each client’s likes and dislikes to incorporate elements into their sessions that will resonate with them.

For example, if a client doesn’t enjoy cardio exercise, a therapist may incorporate light stretching into the session to provide them with a more enjoyable experience while strengthening their muscles. This method is particularly effective when working with children, who can benefit from a more personalized approach to their care.

The bottom line is that it’s important for patients to engage in their HEPs if they want to get better, whether that’s recovering from an injury or managing their chronic condition. By using a variety of strategies to increase engagement, therapists can help their clients reach their rehabilitation and fitness goals and live a pain-free life.


After the evaluation, your physical therapist will create a treatment plan to address your goals. Often this involves working to improve pain, swelling, weakness and limitations in movement. This will involve both in-clinic sessions as well as at home treatment. Your therapist may also work to reduce inflammation in the area, improve movement and muscle function through manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilization and massage, or use ultrasound and electrical stimulation.

As part of the treatment, your therapist will guide you through exercises and stretches to help with healing and improving movement patterns. In addition, they will teach you self-management through daily activities and exercise to keep the problem from returning.

This will include guiding you through steps to manage your problem at home, such as using ice and heat, avoiding aggravating activities and following the exercises and stretches that have been recommended. The frequency of these follow-up sessions will depend on your injury, treatment plan and progress.

Your physical therapist will also advise you of any other health care professionals that you might need to see for other injuries or health conditions. For example, if your therapist determines that you have a balance or vestibular issue, they will refer you to a vestibular physiotherapist for further evaluation and treatment.

In most of the US, you can access a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral for musculoskeletal injuries. However, specific regulations differ between states and countries. It is best to contact your local physical therapist directly to schedule your initial appointment.

It is important to attend all of your physical therapy appointments to ensure the best results. During the first session, your therapist will take a detailed medical history and perform a thorough exam. It is important to bring a list of all prescribed and over the counter medications you are currently taking as well as any supplements or vitamins you are taking. Also, it is helpful to have a trusted friend or family member accompany you to your physical therapy appointment so they can ask questions about any medication or supplements that you have forgotten to bring up.