How to Prepare for your First Physical Therapy Session
Depending on your condition, a typical initial evaluation will last 60 to 90 minutes. Follow up appointments generally take 30-60 minutes.
Important things to know:
- Please complete your new patient forms before your appointment.
- Bring any medical assistive devices, such as a brace, splint or crutches.
- Provide a valid photo identification (i.e. driver’s license, state ID or passport) as well as your insurance card.
- Wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move around in and allows our clinicians access to your treatment areas. Gym attire and athletic shoes are preferred.
- Check in with the front desk when you arrive. Please wait for instruction from our team to begin any activities.
- Be prepared to schedule out follow up appointments based on your treatment plan of care.
Although we try to keep paperwork to a minimum, some is required before we can begin your evaluation and treatment. You can complete your paperwork online or print and fill it out prior to your appointment. If neither of those options work for you, just arrive 15-30 minutes early to your first visit and we’ll get it done together.
Focus of Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO)
To help us determine the best treatment options for you, you’ll be asked to take a quick, five-minute survey called Focus of Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO). You’ll be asked to detail your primary complaints and your limitations with sports, daily life and work. With this information, our PTs can develop a custom treatment plan that’s right for you.
What will my first appointment entail?
Your first appointment will include a thorough and comprehensive evaluation. A CORA licensed physical therapist who will ask you questions about the history and evolution of your situation/injury and your goals for therapy.
Before arriving, consider what movements, activities, or responsibilities aggravate your symptoms or what your symptoms are preventing you from doing. Providing a thorough medical history is critical. Even if you think something is unrelated to the condition for which you are being treated, share everything. Your therapist is an expert at connecting the missing links in your care and needs to know the details of your medical history.
Your evaluation will include an assessment of your current functional limitations and an examination of your flexibility, strength, posture, endurance, and balance. We measure these results and get a better understanding of your pain levels.
Following the evaluation, your physical therapist will thoroughly explain your personalized treatment plan based on your goals and expectations for recovery. Communication is key. The relationship you have with your physical therapist should feel like an alliance – both of you should be working toward your goals and be active participants in your treatment plan moving forward.
New Patient or Feeling Anxious? Frequently Asked Questions
Whether you are a first-timer or simply want to learn more about Direct Access, here is some helpful information.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
We recommend comfortable clothes and closed toe shoes such as tennis shoes. If you have shoulder pain, a t-shirt will help our clinicians access the site of your pain. Shorts or loose-fitting pants are best for patients with hip/knee or lower body pain. Some treatment options and/or evaluations may require movement, so avoid clothing that may impair activity.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
We’ll need a valid picture ID, your insurance cards, relevant referral and/or doctor’s notes (if available), and a written summary of imaging notes. Our clinicians may also ask for a list of your medications.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING MY FIRST VISIT?
While we do our best to keep it at a minimum, expect some paperwork. You’ll take a five-minute survey called Focus of Therapeutic Outcomes (FOTO) to help us determine the best treatment options for you.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T TAKE MY INSURANCE?
Chances are that won’t be an issue. CORA accepts more than 4,000 plans. And if you don’t have insurance, no problem! We offer very affordable self-pay rates and will work with you.
HOW MANY VISITS WILL MY TREATMENT REQUIRE?
The great thing about CORA is that every treatment plan is customized. Some of our patients come just once a week for a few weeks, while other patients require more time for treatment. At your first visit, your PT can explain your recommended treatment frequency and duration to work toward 100% recovery.
HOW LONG IS A TYPICAL PHYSICAL THERAPY SESSION?
Most sessions last between 30–60 minutes. The number of times you come a week will depend on your individual needs.
WILL I EXPERIENCE PAIN AFTER MY VISIT?
Some patients do experience temporary muscle soreness or minor pain and irritation after their visits. The discomfort is usually minimal, however, and our PTs will provide you with resources and support to make sure that the treatment does not impact your day-to-day activities.
IS MY PHYSICAL THERAPIST LICENSED?
YES! All physical and occupational therapists at CORA have passed the national board exam and are currently licensed by the states in which they practice. To keep their licenses current, they must stay up to date with best practices through continuing education courses. Many of our PTs have doctorate degrees.
WHAT WILL MY TREATMENT LOOK LIKE?
Your treatment plan will be individualized, based on your diagnosis and goals, using cutting-edge research and an evidence-based treatment approach. At CORA, we go beyond treating symptoms with massage and hot packs. Instead, we address the underlying problems of stiffness, weakness, coordination, etc. Our approach is proven to be highly effective to get you back to work, sport or play as soon as possible!