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David Sisk, DPT
Tips For the Patient Sharing Pertinent Information With Your Physical Therapist
La Plata Physical Therapy, Inc.
. http://www.laplatapt.com/

Tips For the Patient Sharing Pertinent Information With Your Physical Therapist

Asking patient’s questions is just as important as the interventions and treatments given to the patient. Patient questions are many times the keys to unlocking the door to most effectively treating a patient’s condition.

While evaluating a patient, there are many areas of a patient’s condition to investigate. The patient should expect questions about prior medical history, as certain medical conditions require the therapist to adapt tests and measures to obtain an accurate assessment of a patient’s complaint. For example, asking about co-existing medical conditions such as diabetes could contribute to findings of impaired sensation that could be misinterpreted for another condition involving the spine.

Another important area to inquire during an evaluation is, if a patient has had prior surgeries to an area of the body where there is pain. Prior surgical procedures could limit or prevent a therapist from performing certain treatment techniques on a patient in the interest of safety. For example, if a patient has low back pain, and has had a fusion surgery, mobilizing segments of the low back would be contraindicated as a treatment technique, as it could cause injury to the patient.

Additionally, it is also crucial to ask a patient about a history of recent radiation or chemotherapy treatments, in addition to procedures implanting electronic devices such as pacemakers. These are paramount pieces of information to obtain from a patient so that modalities affecting the function of these vital devices will not be used in treatment. Prior to the visit the patient could prepare an up to date list of surgeries and procedures that can be given to the examiner. Written information will be more accurate and save time for other valuable aspects of the examination.

Medications are again, an important component to a patient’s presentation and evaluation. Medications can affect mood, memory, energy, etc. For example a patient who is prescribed a beta-blocker for a heart condition will not present with normal vital signs after exercise, as the medication suppresses blood pressure and heart rate readings. In this case, a patient’s tolerance to exercise will need to be monitored in a different manner such as a numbered scale of the patient’s perceived exertion.

If possible, prior to the initial consult, prepare a list of your current medications to include dosage, how it is taken, i.e. orally or by injection and the frequency. This will save time and present information more accurately.

Seeking patient information by questions and observation is the key to appropriate physical therapy treatment.

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