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What to Expect from Outpatient Physical Therapy

Physical therapist are trained professionals who help patients regain motion, strength and function after an injury, stroke or other health event. Physical therapists provide care in the hospital (inpatient) and at physical therapy and rehabilitations centers (outpatient).

If you are attending outpatient physical therapy for the first time, you should:

Dress to Move

Physical therapy centers are like extremely specialized gyms. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes (like gym clothes) to all your physical therapy appointments. These clothes should not limit your range of motion and make it easy for you to perform any exercise during  your therapy.

Avoid Stress

Your first appointment will include an evaluation, but it’s not a test. Don’t stress about how will you perform at physical therapy appointments; as long as you are doing your best, you are moving at the correct pace for your body and recovery.

Your first evaluation will consist of simple exercises that help your physical therapist create a personalized plan for you. The exercises will test your balance, flexibility, range of motion and more. The exercises may be as simple as walking down a hallway, sitting up from a lying down position or lifting objects. After your evaluation, you and your therapist will create a plan for your rehabilitation.

Get Motivated

By fully participating in physical therapy, you will see much better results. Get motivated to follow your physical therapist’s instructions, including those for at-home exercises. At-home exercises help you continue to make progress in-between your physical therapy appointments. It’s important that you perform these exercises exactly as your physical therapist instructs.

Set Your Goals

Having some goals in mind and sharing them with your physical therapist can help you have a more personalized therapy plan. You should think of a few goals before your first appointment to help motivate you and get you ready to move again.

Find Support

You may choose to bring a support person with you to your appointments to help ensure you remember all the information your physical therapist gives you. Your support person may also learn about your in-home exercises so they can do the exercises with you and help keep you on track for a good recovery.

Bon Secours physical therapists support patients with a variety of conditions all across Richmond. We provide patient-centered, evidence-based care designed to help you regain function and strength.

Learn more about our physical therapy services in Richmond.