Direct Access In-Clinic

Initial evaluations for a direct access patient are performed similarly to evaluations done with patients referred to PT by their physician. While your therapist would routinely screen for any issues that would require medical attention beyond the PT’s scope of practice, it is of particular concern for a patient using direct access as they have not been screened by a medical doctor. This is one of the reasons for the recent push in requiring physical therapists to have a doctorate degree in physical therapy as opposed to a master’s degree.

How to prepare:
Be sure to write down facts about the history of your problem, such as how and when it
started, what makes it better or worse, and how it is affecting your day to day activities. Also
write down any questions you may have about your issue. Writing this information down makes
it less likely you will forget or miss something during your evaluation. Also bring a written list of current medications you are on and be ready to answer questions about your medical history,
including any surgeries or procedures. Your past surgical and medical history could help shine
light on what is causing your current issue.

What to wear:
You are going to move around during your PT appointment, so be sure to dress for
exercise or bring clothes to change into. Also wear clothing that will make it easier for your PT to examine your injury; for example, if you have shoulder pain wear a shirt that allows access to
your shoulder and arm, or shorts if you are having hip or knee pain. Well fitting, close-toed
shoes are also preferred, especially if you are having back, hip, knee, ankle, or foot pain.

Initial examination:
After your physical therapist talks to you about your current issue and your past medical
and surgical history, he or she will then begin with the examination. Your PT will focus on
measuring the impairments that are caused by your injury or may be causing your problem.
Common measurements include:
● Vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, etc.)
● Palpation
● Range of motion
● Balance
● Strength and flexibility
● Functional mobility
● Neurological screening

Treatment plan:
Following your examination, your PT will determine if physical therapy is appropriate and
if further medical attention is warranted. You may be referred to your physician or a specialist to
be medically cleared for therapy, or your PT may deem it safe to start therapy that day but still
refer you to your physician for another concern.

If physical therapy is appropriate, your PT will discuss your goals and expected course
your therapy will take. He or she will discuss how frequently and how long to expect to come to
therapy. Your treatment plan will also include exercises and modalities to address your issue by
managing your pain and improving muscle function.

The relationship you have with your physical therapist and physical therapy assistants at
Elite Physical Therapy and Balance should feel like a team focused on your goals. If you are
having any back pain, joint pain, headaches, or balance issues, join our team at Elite Physical
Therapy and Balance to help you reach your goals and FEEL BETTER FASTER.

If you are experiencing any kind of inflammation or pain, contact us for a free consultation.  To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:

Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Shelbyville: 931-684-0027
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022

Disclaimer:  The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care.  Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.

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