Physical Therapy Room and EquipmentIf you’re new to physical therapy, you may have some anxiety about getting started. Many people first come to us after they have been in pain for some time and might be afraid that therapy will not help—or even make it worse. Our Northern Virginia sports physical therapists want to set your mind at ease so that you can come to your first visit relaxed and ready to feel better.

What to Expect in Your First Physiotherapy Session

The most important thing our clients can expect after their first visit with us is that they will leave feeling better than when they came in. Some of our treatment methods may feel like a workout, but our therapists are highly trained to move the body in ways that ease pain and prevent further injury.

At your initial appointment, we will:

  • Fill out some essential paperwork. If you haven’t already filled out our intake forms, we will walk you through the new patient paperwork and policy documents. You will complete a short medical history to help us understand what your body has been through and other treatments you have had in the past. Depending on your condition, you may also be asked to fill out a health summary or pain level questionnaire.
  • Discuss your goals and expectations. We will discuss the primary reason for your visit—such as post-op pain, aging, trauma, or an old injury flaring up—and other limitations you may have noticed. Your therapist may press on or manipulate the area to confirm or rule out suspected causes of damage and see if you need a referral to a specialist before physical therapy begins.
  • Do a thorough physical assessment. You should wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely. We will perform a complete examination to test your range of motion, flexibility, joint movements, reach, posture, and strength. Your therapist may perform soft tissue massage, trigger point therapy, joint mobilization, or other manual techniques on your first visit to see how you respond. We also work to identify all potential causes behind the injury and pinpoint exactly where your pain is coming from.
  • Create a treatment plan. Your therapist will create a personalized treatment plan based on their findings, including the recommended number of sessions and how we measure your progress over the coming weeks. They may also recommend dry needling or other conservative therapies that could improve pain and movement. We always address your questions or concerns, particularly on how to cope with your injury during everyday life. Our advice can help you understand what actions to avoid and what you can do to help yourself recover more quickly.
  • Give you some homework. You will likely be prescribed a daily at-home stretching, strengthening, or posture correction program to perform before your next appointment. Your therapist may give you a list of exercises, demonstrate how to do them, and advise you on how often they should be done. We also discuss any referrals you may need, such as X-rays or blood testing, to rule out underlying medical conditions that could hinder your recovery.

Most patients begin with a weekly therapy regimen, although some may need treatments only once or twice per month. If you can’t make it to your scheduled appointment, we ask that you let us know as soon as possible. We have a 24-hour cancellation policy to ensure that all our clients get the attention they deserve. The first same-day missed appointment results in a charge of $99, but any future cancellations are subject to the cost of that day’s visit.

As a full-service sports therapy clinic, we typically meet our clients when they need pain management or after they suffer an injury. However, many of these clients transition into our wellness or personal training services after we have successfully resolved their initial problems. It’s our mission to examine and improve all levels of functional mobility, creating a ‘better than before’ chance for our clients to feel their absolute best.

Dr. Carlos J. Berio
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D.P.T. Doctor of Physical Therapy in Virginia