Your First Appointment in Physical Therapy

The Physical Therapy program at Scott & White Healthcare is entirely individualized. From the initial assessment through completion of our program, you’ll receive personalized care tailored to your distinct needs.

Your Scott & White physical therapist will conduct an extensive interview. Be sure to wear comfortable clothing, as you will be moving around.

Your Current Condition

You’ll be asked about:

  • Your pain history
  • Any orthopedic injuries
  • Any surgeries, orthopedic or otherwise
  • Your normal activities
  • Work habits
  • Sleeping habits
  • Leisure activities
  • Any stressors in your life
  • The kind of exercise you can do
  • What you want to do that you can’t do

Goal Setting

Setting goals helps achieve the greatest success with your therapy.

Your physical therapist will help you set goals regarding your:

  • Everyday living and normal activities
  • Physical exercise plan
  • How much time you have for follow-up exercises at home
  • How much time you have for follow-up therapy appointments


As with everything in physical therapy, goals will be highly individualized.

For example, for some patients, goals may be getting out of a chair to get to the bathroom, while for others it may be improving 5K times without knee pain.

Your therapist will regularly assess progress toward meeting your goals throughout your treatment in our department.

Overall Assessment

Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough physical examination to determine your level of functionality.

Your therapist will assess your:

  • Range of motion
  • Observable dysfunction
  • Normal “play” in your joints


Your PT will assess the alignment of your:

  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Hips


You’ll also be examined for the way you:

  • Sit down
  • Sit
  • Stand up
  • Walk
  • Bend
  • Push
  • Pull
  • Reach


You’ll then have some functional tests based on your condition to determine how well your body:

  • Works together
  • Reacts against gravity
  • Reacts with lifting
  • Reacts with pushing and pulling


Your therapist will also examine your:

  • Seated posture
  • Standing posture


Your therapist will then have a baseline:

  • From which to begin treatment
  • From which to compare results

Personalized Care Plan

Based on the assessment, your therapist will determine:

  • The nature and degree of difficulty or disability, if any
  • What services you’ll need
  • What therapeutic intervention may be helpful


Your PT will then create a personalized care plan that meets your individual needs. As you progress through therapy, your therapist will regularly re-evaluate your care plan.

Begin Therapy

Your therapist may begin hands-on therapy at the first appointment, determining whether your orthopedic difficulties are primarily:

  • Mechanical
  • Neuromotor


Many of our therapists use a treatment approach called functional manual therapy™, which combines mechanical treatment with neuromuscular facilitation. Find out more about functional manual therapy.  

Throughout your physical therapy at Scott & White Healthcare, your therapist will provide you:

  • Information on your condition
  • Education on your treatment process


If at any time you have questions about what your therapist is doing or why it’s being done, just ask. Your therapist will be happy to explain.

Our ultramodern Bone & Joint Institute provides state-of-the-art equipment for:

  • Balance retraining
  • Strength training
  • Sport-specific rehabilitation

Prescriptive Exercises as “Homework”

Based on your assessment and initial hands-on treatment, your therapist will assign you individualized, targeted prescriptive exercises to work on at home. These exercises:

  • Enhance the treatments performed at the clinic
  • May include lifestyle or behavior changes, such as the way you sit or walk
  • Are necessary in meeting your therapy goals

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