How do I pick a Physical Therapist?
Seems like an easy question, but there are a lot of factors you should consider. Of these factors, you will have to prioritize and move forward accordingly. The first mistake that someone can make is just going with the closest PT clinic solely because of its location – something we see time and time again. While convenience is important, the amount of time you could save by going to the RIGHT physical therapist, as opposed to the closest physical therapist, can be monumental.
Factors to consider:
- Insurance: If you are going to go through health insurance, does the practice accept your provider? If not, what does it cost if you pay in cash?
- Specialization: There are many generic PT’s and many generic injuries. If there is a particular clinic that does specialize with your injury, they will likely be more knowledgeable (I.e. Pediatrics). If you have a generic injury, you should ask if there is someone at the clinic that specializes in what you are looking for.
- PT Attention: You may not know this, but every clinic is different in terms of how much time the Physical Therapist ACTUALLY spends with you. If your appointment is an hour, you will likely see the Therapist as well as a PT Assistant or PT Aide. At ESPT, our main therapist is with you for 45 minutes, but some clinics may only have their PT with you for 15 minutes.
- Clinic Reputation: Likely, your doctor will refer you to a trusted clinic, but going online (Yelp or Google) can also be helpful.
- PT Consistency: Will you see the same Therapist each visit? At ESPT you will – but there are a lot of places that just put you with whomever is on the schedule. We wholeheartedly believe in consistency, as the therapist that knows you the best will learn how to treat you the best.
- Healing Philosophies: ESPT believes in movement. There is ample research that has been done on why we do what we do. The equipment, techniques, and exercises are all thought through with one goal in mind – to help you accomplish your goals. Some clinics out there will put ice or heat on you for half your session, which can be beneficial, but not if that is the main form of therapy (ALL of the time).
- Customer Service: You can sometimes get a good idea of how customer service friendly the clinic is by simply calling and asking a few questions. If they get back to you right away, the person is friendly, all of your questions are answered etc…it may be a sign of how good their customer service is – something that can be a vital part of your physical therapy experience.