Ask questions for better results
Sports injuries, breathing problems, long-term pain (e.g. arthritis) and other ailments are agonizing and frustrating. We all wish that there was some kind of "silver bullet" that could cure us in a flash.
Unfortunately, there is rarely a quick fix when it comes to the human body and restoring full movement. However, thanks to trained physical therapy professionals, even the most severe of injuries can be overcome with personal dedication and the right attitude.
That being said, be prepared to ask important questions prior to and during your treatment. Physical therapists are well educated, qualified, competent and stay abreast of the latest research and techniques to meet high standards of professional care. However, they need your full involvement to meet your needs. A good way to maximize your recovery prospects is by discussing pertinent issues with them.
After setting up an appointment, what should you ask a physical therapist upon first contact? Here are five questions that can help you decide who to entrust your health to:
- Can you explain my condition in plain language, please?
- What are the relative risks and benefits of your proposed treatment (e.g. surgery versus conservative treatment)?
- How does your academic and professional background qualify you as the right person to guide me through the recovery process?
- How long will it take to heal, and will I make a full recovery?
- What is the fee schedule for your clinic, and what is the cancellation policy?
The above questions will help you determine the best course of action to follow. However, once you have chosen a clinic, you and your physical therapist must agree about recovery goals. For example, do you simply want to be pain-free, or are you aiming to be ready for sports-specific or other specialized physical activity? Your goals will influence the duration and intensity of your exercise schedule.
All physical therapists in private practice are governed by a body or association that sets and enforces guidelines to protect the public. These guidelines cover safety issues, ethical care, privacy requirements (e.g. access to personal health records), and other aspects of the profession. Don’t hesitate to inquiry about professional conduct and your patient rights throughout your treatment.
Physical therapists will ask questions and explain the rehabilitation process as you proceed. However, voicing your own questions can help you better understand your progress and correctly perform prescribed exercises.
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