Your Initial PT Visit
Clients often have questions about PT and women’s health. A brief phone or office consult can help answer some concerns, including insurance issues. Registration forms and a questionnaire are usually sent ahead by email, to make the most of our time together. Women are welcome to bring a spouse, family member, or friend to their initial or follow-up appointments.
The first PT visit begins with gathering information through review of your history. We also usually start with anatomy instruction of the musculoskeletal system, to help understand where some of your symptoms may be coming from. The evaluation may include postural examination of the alignment of the spine and extremities in standing and lying down. Assessment of movement of the joints with measurements, and strength testing may be a part of your initial physical therapy evaluation.
Women with incontinence and pelvic pain may benefit from palpation of the “pelvic floor” support muscles, including palpation of the muscles’ lifting action. Some women have strength testing of the pelvic floor muscles with “EMG” biofeedback muscle testing. This is similar to a heart monitor, with external adhesive patches or an internal sensor to learn how your muscles work best. It is possible to watch a computer monitior displaying the activity of the muscles while they are contracting and also letting go. This can help to show how weak the support muscles are and if muscle spasm (hypertonus) is present. It is very useful for learning how to train your muscles. These options are not always indicated or performed at the initial visit.
The history and evaluation shape your plan of care. Together we discuss a variety of treatment options and choose strategies to begin to meet your needs.
Your Initial Wellness Visit
Wellness visits are usually educational and do not require a medical prescription. They are more general in nature, and not always tailored to individual needs. Wellness visits do not include a physical evaluation and are not billable to your insurance. Women may seek preventative information to learn about posture and back mechanics, update pelvic floor support exercise techniques and learn post-surgical exercise strategies. Women can choose if they prefer a class or private educational format.
Mild symptoms may improve through wellness programs, but it always recommended that you tell your medical provider about any symptoms you may have. Lack of improvement indicates a need for further consultation with a medical provider. Other medical assessment or formal PT evaluation with structured treatment may be indicated.