Q & A

Your First Visit!

As a new or returning patient to our physical therapy practice we would like to welcome you! You have come to us because of pain, dysfunction, or limitation in your movement for every day activity. This could be a result from overuse, injury, disorder or disease. Your upper extremity (shoulder, elbow, wrist), lower extremity (hip, knee, ankle, foot), cranium, neck, or torso (back) are not functioning “normally”.

You will be interviewed and your story will be listened to carefully to gather the important clues from your history as to what brought you to today’s session.

Please think about the following prior to coming to your first visit.

  • What specifically brought you to this practice?
  • What is the “story” from your point of view?
  • Have you noticed any symptoms since your problem developed (pain, balance, etc) ?
  • Can you make any links that don’t seem related but they never existed before your * current problem?
  • Past injuries ( car accidents, falls, surgeries, etc.)
  • Medical history

Next we will do a physical evaluation and as with any medical professional you may be asked to put on a gown for a more accurate evaluation. Based on the examination, the level of treatment needed will be determined.

The first step in rehabilitation we call repositioning. What is important in repositioning is how the gases move within your rib cage and change the position of the system. When the system is repositioned we are not just realigning something we are restoring function to and throughout the body. ***Create link to learn more***Let’s look at the science of your body so you understand why and how this therapy works.

Your first exercise session will begin with exercises like blowing up a balloon.
The movement of your ribcage happens because of the diaphragm and rib muscles and in your therapy; we want to establish the proper position of the diaphragm and the ribs and their muscles. Our diaphragm can function both as a voluntary and an involuntary muscle so the positioning exercises you will do allows you to improve your condition. Eventually, your muscles can be reset at the same time without conscious thought or action.

With each visit, your physical therapist will assess your progress and review and or teach you new exercises. You will practice each exercise in the office and then take them home to work on daily.

Before you leave the examination your visit will be summarized for your understanding and an individualized rehab plan will begin.

Understanding Your Comprehensive Physical Therapy Visit(s)

You met your therapist…√
You discussed your story…√
You did the initial exercises to help correct your posture…√
Your first visit to the Physical Therapy Center of Horseheads is complete…√
Or is it?

Patients sometime ask these questions

  • What are the three levels of problems and the treatment for each?
  • Can Postural Restoration exercises result in muscles aches?
  • During your visit the pain goes away, but then returns, should I be worried?
  • Is an educated patient a better patient?
  • Why do I have difficulties with remembering and performing my exercises?
  • How often should I perform exercises and why?
  • Do you have a way to be videotaped?

What are the three levels of problems and the treatment for each?

  • Is it a strain? – Do you take ibuprophen for several days and the inflammation causing your pain goes away? If so, you may or may not need physical therapy to help with the healing process.
  • Is it compensation? - Do activities like sports, yard work, or housework give you aches and pains that do not go away for weeks? Have you found ways to compensate for these pains or weaknesses and tried to ignore the symptoms? Perhaps you just dismiss these symptoms as a sign of getting older or doing too much. After a period of time, physical therapy is suggested by your doctor or a friend because everything you have tried for relief has failed. The fact is you have developed compensations to cope with the initial problem. If your problem is untreated, it can lead to conditions like degenerative changes, balance issues, etc. Eventually, this creates a situation that needs professional intervention, and without correct treatment, you are stuck in compensation.
  • Is it pathology? – Have you compensated for the discomfort of one or more joints being unstable? If so, you have now entered pathology. This could be complicated by a weakness in your pelvic wall, bite instability, vision “instability,” a brain injury, adhesions in your abdomen, etc. Patients in this category have often sought many treatments to relieve their symptoms, to no avail. The answer to this complex situation requires a comprehensive team effort of medical specialists. In cooperation with your general practitioner, your physical therapist may become the coordinator of your treatment plan.

Can Postural Restoration exercises result in muscles aches?
Yes! Specific muscles targeted in the exercises can cause aches and this is to be expected. The aches should dissipate within a few days.

During your visit the pain goes away, but then returns, should I be worried?
No, if the pain goes away when you achieve a neutral position, with your physical therapist’s help, it means that your problem can be fixed or controlled with exercises. If neutrality is restored and function improves but, pain still persists, you will be advised to contact your physician for additional testing.

Is an educated patient a better patient?
Asking questions and understanding your treatment is recommended for all patients. It is always a wise patient who oversees their own care and asks clarifying questions of any medical professional. Your understanding of your therapist’s goal(s) will help you both. After all, you are on the same team! Only you can give accurate feedback about your symptoms and the subtle changes you notice. Your body is an ever-changing system, and the treatment must meet the body’s needs where they are at the moment of treatment.

Why do I have difficulties with remembering and performing my exercises?
Each exercise you were taught at your first and subsequent visits was introduced and practiced, step by step. Individually the steps were simple, but all together they may have seemed awkward and overwhelming. This is a normal feeling. If this was your reaction, please be patient with yourself and the process. Stop any and all negative self talk!

Think about how it feels to write your name using your other hand. It isn’t awkward because you are any less intelligent. Your brain is being challenged to function in a new way.

The brain forms synapses whenever we learn a new task. With each repetition the neurological connections grow and the exercises will become easier.

How often should I perform exercises and why?
The time required to master a new exercise varies with individuals. Looking at how the brain learns will influence how often and when you do your exercises. Research shows that to master a new skill, the skill should be introduced 3-4 times a day, at six hour intervals, for approximately forty days.

Let’s apply this brain science to changing your postural habits from conscious to subconscious.

To achieve optimal benefit from your treatment

  • Practice at least one prescribed daily activity
  • Do exercises for a short time preferably before meals

Your technique of doing each exercise correctly will improve with time. Just do your best, the important thing is to do them. Soon you will be using these new patterns without thinking. Eureka! ♥

Do you have a way of being videotaped?
Bring your recording device to next visit and therapist will record you doing the exercise correctly.

1. Neutrality
Is the ability for the system (body) to move to either side without an interruption that inhibits movement.