What to Expect
What to Expect at Your First Visit
If you’ve had physical therapy in the past,
you will discover your experience at SPINE PT to be refreshingly different.
Before your visit
You will need to have the New Patient Paperwork filled out before your evaluation. Please print it, fill it out, and bring it to your visit or arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment and the receptionist can give you a copy to fill out.
You will not need to change into a gown, but you will need to wear some comfortable and modest clothing that will allow you to move into various positions on the treatment table.
A good portion of the examination will be spent learning about your prior medical history, current condition, and things that influence your pain. You will be asked to demonstrate how much movement you have in the injured area and related joints (only moving as much as feels comfortable for you) to see where you are restricted and which positions are the best for you. The muscles and tissues will be assessed by gently pressing on them to see how they respond. This will help to identify the exact structures and tissues that are involved.
Pain in the spine can be caused by problems in other parts of the body so the evaluation may also assess other areas than where you are hurting. It is not uncommon to find a knee or foot issue that has caused the back problem. Once the tissues involved have been identified, treatment will begin.
The initial treatment usually starts with a new technique that many patients have referred to as “something out of Star Wars.” This technique is referred to as the “Primal Reflex Release Technique,” or PRRT. You can learn more about PRRT by visiting www.thePRRT.com . John Iams, the physical therapist who discovered the connection between our reflexes and pain and who created this technique, has many videos that explain the technique on his website.
PRRT sends gentle inputs to the central nervous system to help the muscles quickly calm down and relax. More of our pain is directly linked to the central nervous system’s involvement than we previously realized.
While many patients receive significant and rapid pain relief from this approach, PRRT does not fix every condition. Unfortunately, there is not one technique that fixes every condition. This is because there are three main causes of pain that I discuss in my e book, “Understanding Your Pain,” and PRRT only treats one of the three. I start with PRRT first because it is quick, easy on my patients, and helps a lot of people.
If PRRT doesn’t help reduce your pain, it means your pain is related more to a chemical and or structural related issue(s) that need to be addressed. A good example of a chemical and structural problem is a sprained ankle. There is swelling (inflammation is a chemical reaction) and damaged tissue with restricted movement (structural issues). Pain from a sprained ankle is coming from swelling, tissue damage, and restricted movement of the joints and tissues. This type of injury takes time to heal.
The time needed to heal chemical and structural issues can be drastically shortened by consistently providing the right input to the body. A skilled therapist can help a sprained ankle to heal in weeks, instead of months or years.
Chemical and structural issues of the spine are no different. There is no “quick fix” when dealing with structural issues but a skilled therapist can significantly shorten the healing time. The goal of each treatment is to gradually reduce the pain and restore mobility of the joints and tissues. SPINE PT helps people heal rapidly in weeks, instead of months and years.
Download a Free copy of my E-book “Understanding Your Pain,”
to better understand how your nervous system affects your pain.
Understanding Your Pain
How many visits will you need?
It’s difficult to know the exact number of visits you will need as everyone’s symptoms are unique. Typical patients are seen once a week for 6 visits. If you have experienced pain for over a year, the amount of inflammation and muscle guarding may sometimes require 8-12 visits to get under control. A more precise estimate can be given at your first visit after completing a comprehensive physical exam.
The Key to Rapid Pain Relief
Patient involvement is key to rapid healing. I discovered many years ago that the more patients did at home, in-between visits, the faster they healed. There are 3 parts that need to be addressed with a home program:
- The exact exercises and stretches to address the specific condition.
- Education. Patients need to know the cause of their pain and which activities they should avoid (short term) to prevent the pain from persisting.
- How to sit, where to sit, and how long to sit.
Patients are given a home program to address these issues so they can treat themselves throughout the week until their next visit. The other benefit of the patient being an active participant in their own healing is they learn how to treat themselves. If their symptoms should ever return in the future, they can quickly and effectively start self-treatment. Early treatment will help you to heal faster and most likely not need to return to the clinic.
I’ve found there are some people that don’t want to do anything at home and would rather just come in for treatments. This is fine too, but this type of treatment program requires increased visits to the clinic to make the changes. If that is what you prefer, let us know and we can set it up that way.
How long will each session be?
The initial evaluation and first treatment will last for approximately 60 minutes. Follow up treatments are usually 45-60 minutes.
What should I wear?
Wear comfortable and modest clothing that will allow you to move into various positions on the treatment table.
Uncertain if you are ready for an evaluation?
There are some that need a little more information before they feel ready to schedule their first appointment. I get it. I was in your shoes many years ago before I became a physical therapist. I didn’t know where to turn. Pain in the spine is very exhausting mentally and physically but so was searching out the many treatment options.
I would love to meet with you for a free, no strings attached, 20 minute consultation for you to ask me any questions you have. I will also ask you some questions about your symptoms to give me an idea of the most likely cause of your pain (a formal evaluation is needed for a conclusive diagnosis) and will help me determine the approximate number of visits you would need if you decide to return and be treated. If you prefer, you could also schedule a free 20 min phone consult instead of a formal meeting. Schedule a free consult now.