Before Your Visit:
- Make a list of any questions that you have so you don’t forget during your appointment.
- Write down any symptoms you’ve been having. If you have more than one symptom, begin with the one that is the most bothersome to you.
- Write down key information about your medical history, even if it seems unrelated to the condition for which you are seeing the physical therapist.
- You may want to avoid tight or formal clothes, in case the therapist wants you to engage in activities during the first session.
- Arrive 15-20 minutes early to your first appointment for paperwork that needs completing.
- Bring a list of any medications you are taking.
What to Expect During Your First Visit:
Your physical therapist will perform a detailed examination. Depending on your symptoms and condition, the physical therapist might evaluate your strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, posture, blood pressure, and heart and respiration rates. Your physical therapist might use his or her hands to examine or “palpate” the affected area or to perform a detailed examination of the mobility of your joints, muscles, and other tissues.
Your physical therapist also might evaluate:
- How you walk (your “gait”)
- How you get up from a lying position or get in and out of a chair (“functional activities”)
- How you use your body for certain activities, such as bending and lifting (“body mechanics”)
Your physical therapist will evaluate your need for special equipment, such as special footwear, splints, or crutches. If the evaluation indicates that you are at risk for falling, your physical therapist might recommend simple equipment to help make your home a safer place for you. The therapist will know what equipment you need and can either get it for you or tell you where you can find it. If you do need special equipment, your physical therapist can show you how to use it properly.
Before Your Visit:
- Arrive 15-20 minutes early to your first appointment for paperwork that need completing.
- Bring a picture ID
- Wear 100% cotton underwear
- You will be asked to change into a gown and to remove jewelry, hairpins, eyeglasses, watches, wigs, dentures, hearing aids, underwire bras and metallic make-up
- Before an MRI exam, eat normally and continue to take your usual medications, unless otherwise instructed.
Please inform your doctor or the technologist at the time of your exam if you have:
- a pacemaker
- a metal plate, pin, or other metallic implant
- aneurysm clips
- an artificial heart valve
- an intrauterine device (IUD)
- ever been a metal worker
- ever been wounded during military service
What to Expect During Your Visit:
MRI – Typically lasting 30 to 60 minutes, MRI exams require very little preparation. A technologist will help you onto an exam table. The table then slides into the circular MRI machine, where you will remain for the duration of the exam. As the technologist collects images, they will be able to see, hear and speak to you, alleviating any concerns you may have.
CT Scan – Even faster than an MRI, CT scans take just 15 to 30 minutes. Some types of CT scans also require a contrast dye, which may be given as a flavorless drink or quick, painless injection. This dye appears bright white on your final images, helping doctors to differentiate between different types of tissue. If your CT scan does require a contrast dye, your doctor, radiologist or technologist may ask you to fast for a few hours before your exam.
Ultrasound Exam – Your technologist will conduct the exam with a transducer, a small handheld device that looks like a wand. They will apply the transducer to the body part being examined, along with a gel that helps sound waves pass through your skin. Depending upon the nature of your exam, you may be able to see the images during your exam, on a screen connected to the ultrasound device.
Digital X-Ray – A technologist will help you onto an exam table or chair, depending upon the positions required for the image. A plastic plate called a film cassette will be placed directly under or behind the area of the body to be imaged, and you will be asked to hold still for a few minutes while the x-ray is being taken. This process will be repeated for additional views and the whole procedure will likely take 15 minutes or less.
Independent Medical Examination (IME)
In some situations, an employer or insurance company may want to have an injured employee seen by a particular physician to obtain an objective evaluation of the employee’s health. An employee may initially be seen by a company physician or a physician of their own choosing. However, if a concern or dispute arises over the extent of the employee’s injuries or whether the employee has any injury at all, the insurer may be entitled to require the employee to appear for an IME with a physician of its choosing.
Impairment rating (IR)
An IR (sometimes called a physical impairment rating) is a medical assessment of a claimant’s injury represented by a percentage value. A physician may assign an IR to the body as a whole or to a specific body part. The rating may then be used to calculate the workers’ comp benefits owed to a claimant. Impairment ratings are particularly important in determining permanent partial disability benefits.
Utilization review (UR)
Many states have procedures for UR. UR is the process used by employers or claims administrators to review whether treatment is medically necessary.
Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)
An FCE is utilized to measure injured workers ability to perform physical tasks of specific job duties. The comprehensive full body test ensures a safer return to work and may help reduce another injury from occurring.
Ergonomics is a powerful tool that determines if a workplace is properly arranged creating a healthier work environment which may aid in improving patient engagement and support future injury prevention.
Job Site Analysis
Post-injury job analysis provides a clearer picture of the specific job description and physical demands of each job task which may require modification or an altercation based on limitations of the injured worker to return to full duty classification.
Home Evaluation, Fall Prevention, Personal Wellness
Home modifications, wheelchair assessments, determination of Activities of Daily Living (ADL), weight loss and home exercise programs may be required post-injury to accommodate an injured worker at home.
An Occupational Therapist examines the injured worker to evaluate physical, visual, and mental abilities to safely operate a motor vehicle.