Is It Your First Time? Here’s What to Bring to Your Initial Physical Therapy Appointment

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So, you’ve made your initial physical therapy (PT) appointment, and you’re ready to start treatment. But if this is your first time going to PT—or if you’re seeing a new therapist—you may be uncertain about your first visit. Specifically, you might not know what you need to bring to make the most of your time. Here’s what I recommend you bring to your first appointment:

  • Completed patient intake forms (if your PT offers them online)
  • Insurance card
  • Government-issued photo ID (like your driver’s license or state ID)
  • Physician’s referral—if applicable and/or necessary (see our blog on Direct Access)
  • Medical records from your primary care physician (or have that office send them over)
  • Your most recent lab or diagnostic reports
  • List of current medications and allergies
  • Your medical history—including injuries, incidents, or environmental factors affecting your condition
  • List of pertinent family medical issues
  • Information about your symptoms—what, when, where, and for how long
  • Loose, comfortable clothing that allows your PT access to the injured area
  • Closed-toe athletic shoes
  • Family member or friend to provide comfort or support if you’re nervous or need assistance

Lastly, remember to bring your treatment questions, concerns, and goals. Your physical therapist (PT) is your partner in getting you back to optimal health, and he or she wants to make sure you feel comfortable. This first visit is the best time to talk with your PT about your dysfunction, treatment plan, and prognosis.

I know this is a long list, but when it comes to providing your PT with information, more is better. Keep in mind that not all PT clinics will require you to bring everything, but if you remember the basics—patient forms, insurance card, ID, and loose clothing—you should be set. Happy rehabbing!

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