What do I need to know about physical therapy.
March 24, 2013 12:06 PM   Subscribe

What sort of questions should I ask while looking for a physical therapist?

So my shin splints haven't gone away, and I have been prescribed physical therapy by a sports doctor. I'm now looking for a therapist, and I would like to know if there are questions I should ask potential PTs beyond the obvious (such as are you in my network and how much do you cost).

Based on my Yelp reading, I definitely want to ask about the ratio between PT and patients during a regular day. What else should I be asking about / looking for?

BONUS: If you have recommendations for PTs in lower Manhattan, I'd love to hear about them.
posted by thecaddy to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Different PTs have expertise in different areas. Eg the guy I saw for TMJ was a research expert in that area. When you call around, I'd just ask them each what areas are their primary specialty or area of interest.
posted by colin_l at 12:16 PM on March 24, 2013

Looking at your previous question: mention that you think your form is poor and ask if part of therapy can be working with you on that to prevent re-injury. Not sure if that's standard, but it'd be nice...
posted by ecsh at 12:16 PM on March 24, 2013

Make sure that your PT sessions are with the same therapist each time. Sure, they take notes, but 1-on-1 with the same therapist is important.
posted by alligatorman at 12:33 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't tend to ask a lot of questions ahead of time, but some variations among PTs I've been to include:
--Does the PT work with you the whole time, or just for a little while and then pass you off to a technician for modalities and exercises? (I've had good experiences with both.)
--Is the layout such that you are isolated in a treatment room or that you interact with other patients in a more open space? (I prefer the latter but it doesn't affect quality of care.)
--Will the PT give you a print-out of the exercises you should do at home with specified weight, sets, and reps, or just vaguely suggest verbally some exercises you should do?
--How long will it take to execute your homework exercises and does the PT have an awareness of the amount of time they're asking of you?
--How much do they work with athletes, and will they work on finding ways for you to keep training and stay active, or chastise you for not being willing to rest? Will they understand the strengths and weaknesses you are likely to have because of the sport you play? Will they know enough about your preferred activities to assess and improve sport-specific technique?
--Do they favor high-tech treatments (electrical stim, lasers, video games you play via exercising the injured body part) or low-tech, more traditional ones (exercises, stretching, massage)?
--Who is the best or most experienced PT in the practice, and/or the owner, and can you be sure to see that person?
--Do they offer T-shirts and/or shorts that you can change into if needed so you don't have to bring your own gym clothes?
--What modalities do they use (such as Active Release Technique or Craniosacral Therapy), and are these ones that appeal to you?
--What is there to do while you are sitting around with ice or heat for ten minutes? (Of course you can always bring a book, but one of my favorite PT experiences was all the patients watching Jeopardy together.)

And I liked Carolyn Mazur at Fusion PT in Chelsea.
posted by nevers at 1:30 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just started PT with Spear Physical Therapy at 16th and 8th. The office just opened last week. I haven't had PT before and went to Spear on the recommendation of my doctor but I feel very well taken care of.
posted by goingonit at 2:32 PM on March 24, 2013

My recommendation is for Recovery PT on 30 Wall Street. I saw both John and Jessica last year following a knee dislocation. They were both friendly, kind and knowledgable. I selected this particular location of Recovery (they have several) for its proximity to my apartment and yelp reviews. yelp
posted by lovelygirl at 2:50 PM on March 24, 2013

I had good experiences with the Pain Center, but it was several years ago.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:01 PM on March 24, 2013

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