Starting Physical Therapy Off Correctly
Physical therapy can help you regain your range of motion and the ability to move as you used to be able to move before you suffered an injury or illness. Like any long-term treatment, though, you want to start off on the right foot (no pun intended) and work with a therapist you click with. The therapist will draw up your therapy plan, and when you first meet the therapist, it's a good idea to have questions ready.
Try to Have the Same Therapist Throughout Your Treatment
Therapists do take vacations, get sick, and leave for other jobs, but when possible, try to have the same therapist oversee your entire treatment. To have different therapists show up randomly to take over can be disruptive and a touch confusing if they have different ideas about what you should be doing. When you meet with the therapist for the first time, ask if they will be your therapist for the whole course of treatment or if parts will be handled by other therapists at the clinic.
Discuss How Much of the Treatment Will Be Overseen by Assistants
At some point, you'll likely work with a physical therapy assistant, rather than the main therapist. This is generally fine, but be sure that you will still be able to work with the main therapist and ask them questions of them when you need to. What you don't want is to barely meet with your therapist and then be handed off to an assistant for just about everything else during the course of your therapy. The assistant may be well-trained and very knowledgeable, of course, but the therapist is the one who creates your program and oversees your progress. You want to be able to stay in contact with that therapist.
Ensure You Understand the Whys Behind the Specific Treatments
You'll have different treatments during each session, ranging from using exercise machines to practicing different movements. You may also have some treatments like placing heat on the affected area, but the therapy appointment should not be mostly these types of treatments (those you can do at home). You need to be sure you understand the "why" behind each part of the session so that you know what you're actually working toward. Some may be for pain relief, but others should be for things like range of motion, or whatever is applicable to your situation.
Physical therapy is very, very helpful to say the least. However, you need to find a therapist who you feel comfortable working with and who can explain why you're doing what you're doing during the therapy sessions. You can switch therapists if you feel one is not working out, and once you find a therapist who seems to be a great match, you should see very good progress.
For more info, visit a local physical therapy clinic.