Physical therapy is an important part of the healing process. It can help with pain management, injuries, and surgery recovery, as well as improve mobility and restore regular strength and function. 

But, if you’re new to physical therapy, you may be wondering — what exactly happens during a physical therapy session? What can I expect?  To begin with, you need to understand that what we do at Spine PT is very different from a general physical therapy clinic. A general physical therapy clinic typically expects their physical therapists to work with 2-3 patients/hour to maximize insurance reimbursements. While this may be fine for patients with ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow or hand injuries, it isn’t fair to patients with complicated injuries to their spines. We recognize that people who have pain in their spine need a customized treatment program. A huge part of treating the spine is teaching people all the little things they are doing every day that keep the pain from going away. Sitting incorrectly (95% of patients fail our sitting quiz. Sitting correctly is NOT what you have been led to believe) as well as sleeping in the wrong positions can keep the tissues and structures of the spine from healing. The therapists at Spine PT only work with one patient at a time for 60-90 minutes. We need every minute of that time for all the feel good-manual therapy techniques as well as educating the patient in protecting their spine in-between sessions.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the various activities that our physical therapists may perform during a session to give you a little insight into what to expect if you’re considering inquiring about more information and booking an appointment. 

Arriving to Spine PT

When you arrive to our clinic, you will notice that our office is very different from a typical physical therapy clinic. No exercise equipment lining the walls. It feels and looks more like a spa. Why? Because treadmills, stationary bikes, and free weights are NOT what you need to get someone better who is having pain in their spine. Most of your treatment will by lying comfortably on one of our padded treatment tables with the therapist doing all the work while you relax.

Assessing The Patient

The first step in your therapy session is to do a thorough evaluation of your symptoms. This includes taking into consideration your past medical history, any recent injuries, and illnesses you may have had. Then, your PT will perform a physical examination to identify any areas of concern that you may have not mentioned. This assessment helps your PT determine which treatments are most appropriate for your condition and is an essential part of the process. 

Developing a Treatment Plan Tailored To You

Once your initial assessment is complete, your PT will then develop an individualized treatment plan designed for you. No two patients’ pain experiences are the same which is why it’s essential to individualize each treatment plan. Your plan will include a variety of hands on, feel-good, manual therapy techniques that are designed to calm the central nervous system and will relax your muscles and lower the pain.

Carrying Out Your Treatment

During each session, your PT will carry out treatment according to the individualized plan that they come up with for you. These treatments focus heavily on what is referred to as manual therapy. A manual therapy technique is basically just a technique that requires the hands of the therapist to perform – from assisted stretching, joint mobilization, fascial mobilization, to techniques that quiet the nervous system and bring rapid pain relief. We utilize are lots of different manual therapy techniques and are the favorite part of treatment for our patients.

At some point in the visit, most patients will have a 10 min laser treatment. We use a class 4 laser that is the most advanced on the market and used by all the major sports teams to get their athletes better fast. The laser uses a certain frequency of light to penetrates deep into the body to where the injury is located. This particular frequency of light reduces the swelling in the tissues and encourages cellular repair. The laser puts off a comforting heat that helps our patients further relax and prepare the tissues for assisted stretching, the next part of the treatment.

At this point in the treatment, our patients are feeling significant relief of their pain and will do 1 or 2 simple stretches/exercises that they will be taught for their home program. Unlike general physical therapy clinics, we do NOT give our patients 2 pages of 10 different exercises for their home program that would take them 45 minutes to do. Those general exercise programs never get anyone better. The home program we give our patients typically only take our patients 2-3 minutes to perform and they don’t even break a sweat.

Before our patients leave, we make sure to teach them some new, comfortable postures they can start to work on. Patients love these new postures and are amazed how much better they start to feel after using them. Your PT will be with you every step of the way to ensure you are progressing and seeing results.  

Evaluating Your Progress

At each session, your PT will evaluate how well you are progressing with your treatment plan. They may ask questions about how you’re feeling after completing certain exercises or activities and if you’re noticing any positive or negative changes in the process. Depending on your answers, your PT might modify your treatment plan to better fit your needs to ensure that it’s most effective in helping you win back your life and reach your goals.  Our therapists collaborate with each other on their patients to make sure each patient is progressing.


Physical therapists play an essential role in helping patients recover from injury and pain by providing individualized care tailored to each person’s needs. With us here at Spine PT, you can expect to feel supported by our team of physical therapists and hope you know we are here to help you get back to living an active lifestyle without limitations.  We are so committed to the success of our patients that we give our them our personal cell phone numbers so they can call and text us if they have a question in-between appointments.

We are the solution you’ve been tirelessly searching for when it comes to getting you out of pain and recovery. To learn more, be sure to click the link to schedule a free consult and to get more information TODAY! We look forward to hearing from you!