2 Tips For Preparing For Your First Physical Therapy Appointment For Your Non-Specific Low Back Pain

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2 Tips For Preparing For Your First Physical Therapy Appointment For Your Non-Specific Low Back Pain

15 March 2018
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog


After a battery of tests for your unexplainable back pain and tightness, your doctor may have diagnosed you with non-specific low back pain and felt that you would benefit from physical therapy to relieve your acute symptoms. If so, use the following tips to help you prepare for your physical therapy appointment.

Find Out What Paperwork the Therapist Requires

Before you go to your first therapy appointment, call the treatment service to find out what type of paperwork the therapist requires for your initial assessment and treatment. This type of paperwork will include insurance information and medical history, but they may need more than that to get a good overview of your condition.

While your doctor may have already sent the prescription for the treatment and a brief explanation of your condition, the therapist may want more detailed paperwork. This information may include any test results or concurrent treatments you are undergoing, such as chiropractic adjustments or medications.

Even if your x-rays did not show a specific cause for your non-specific low back pain, plan on getting a copy of the films to take with you. These films can give the therapist an inside look at the condition of your back so they can personalize your therapy sessions.

Perform a Self Assessment of Your Condition

Along with obtaining any required paperwork for the therapist, perform your own self assessment before the day of your appointment, and write it down in a notebook. This self assessment gives the therapist an idea of how you perceive your low back pain, as well as how your symptoms impact your daily life.

When you first wake up in the morning, describe in your notebook how your back feels. Also, describe your typical sleeping position, the firmness of your mattress, and whether you sleep with pillows under your legs or back.

If your back feels extremely tight and painful in the morning, the therapist may be able to use this information to give you personalized advice, such as changing sleeping positions or even switching out your mattress. They may also show you gentle stretching exercises that may be able to improve your back's flexibility after you first wake up without putting strain on your still-tired muscles.

As you go through your day, pay attention to how your symptoms change with what you are doing. If you find that your back tightens up whenever you sit for too long, make note of it in your notebook. Also, describe the type of chair you are sitting in, as well as how long it took before your pain increased. 

If you are required to sit for several hours at a time at your job, write this information down as well. The therapist may be able to suggest exercises you can do in your chair and at your work desk that can loosen up the muscles and alleviate some of your discomfort.

Along with writing down what aggravates your low back pain, also make note of any activities that seem to help your symptoms. If taking a walk or bending over to stretch seems to release the tension, write this information down. Your therapist may be able to incorporate those activities into your treatment plan.

Once you arrive at your appointment and given your therapist the information the need, they will perform a thorough assessment of your mobility to determine your type of treatment of exercise. If you have any questions about the assessment of your back pain, ask your physical therapist at this initial appointment, as well as continue doing so if concerns arise during the course of your treatment. For more information, contact establishments like Town Center Orthopaedic Associates, P.C.