A physical therapist is an important partner in your journey back to health. Finding the right one can be the difference between a mediocre experience and a transformative way to reclaim your life. That is why, when it is time to see a PT, choosing one should involve more than simply Googling the nearest provider. Here is a look at how to find a good physical therapist, regardless of your specific physical ailments.
Look for a physical therapist who is highly trained and experienced
Any physical therapist who treats you should be highly trained and experienced. Usually, this means that they should hold a doctorate of physical therapy (Unless they were licensed before doctorates were required for physical therapists) and have a strong track record of successfully treating patients. They should also carry the appropriate licensure for New York State.
You can usually evaluate a physical therapist’s licensure, training, and experience without stepping foot in the office. However, you should also pay attention to their expertise once they begin treating you.
Look for a therapist who demonstrates an in-depth understanding of your condition or injury, is willing to use a variety of techniques and tools to support your healing, and is willing to answer any questions you have clearly and thoroughly.
Choose a PT who uses multiple treatment approaches
Some physical therapists rely primarily on stretching exercises to help their patients heal. However, the path to health usually involves more than just stretching (or ultrasound, or manual therapy). Effective healing requires a customized approach that incorporates multiple techniques and tools.
A good physical therapist will want you to know is that you should find someone who possesses a thorough understanding of the many approaches available for treating a wide range of conditions and injuries. And, they will be able and willing to choose from those approaches to build a treatment approach tailored to your needs.
Find a physical therapist who specializes in your problem
Physical therapy can address a huge number of conditions and injuries across the body. However, the most effective treatment often comes from someone who understands and has years of experience treating your specific problem. For example, hand injuries are best addressed by a hand therapist. Athletic injuries are best addressed by an expert in sports medicine.
A physical therapist who has experience in treating your specific problem will be able to customize treatment in order to maximize the benefits you receive from physical therapy. Look for a PT who either has a track record of success dealing with your specific problem or who specializes in the treatments you require.
Only see a PT who makes you feel comfortable
You and your physical therapist will develop a relationship over the course of your treatment, and you will be entrusting them with your body and your pain. As a result, you want to choose a partner on the road to recovery who makes you feel safe, comfortable, and confident.
Before committing to a physical therapist, go beyond their expertise and training to explore whether you feel secure in the treatment they can provide. Do you get along? Do you feel confident sharing your concern with them? Do you trust them enough to follow their instructions? Only pick a therapist for whom all these things are true.
Look for a physical therapist who is realistic about your recovery
Physical therapy does not lead to immediate healing. Overcoming the physical obstacles that drove you to physical therapy will take time. If you want to know how to find a good physical therapist in New York, you should consider finding one who can be honest with you about what your recovery will entail. Can they give you an idea of how long recovery will take? Can they communicate openly with you about any challenges? Are they willing to change their approach if it isn’t working? The best physical therapists will also be the most realistic about your recovery.
Attend an initial evaluation to see if the PT is a good fit
Any PT journey begins with an evaluation. During this appointment, your therapist will look over the issue that brought you to them, evaluate the extent to which it causes you pain or restricts your daily activities, and begin formulating a plan to help you heal.
This appointment is also a good time to see if your PT is a good fit. During this appointment, make sure your therapist demonstrates understanding and experience with your issue, makes you feel comfortable, can recommend and tailor therapies to your needs, and is someone you can trust with your healing.
Choose a physical therapist who helps you heal outside the office
There is only so much progress you can make an hour at a time in the PT office. To heal properly, you will need to complete exercises and activities at home as well. Make sure that the physical therapist you choose is willing to assign you these activities, as well as ensure you understand how to do them correctly to get the most benefit possible from them.