How Long Is A Physical Therapy Session?

One of the most asked questions by patients considering Physical Therapy is, “How long does a physical therapy session take?”

Physical Therapy is a specialized type of therapy to treat musculoskeletal pain, reduce stiffness and increase mobility. It helps decrease pain and restore function in your joints and muscles and can be used to improve athletic performance, increase strength, and regain range of motion after injury or surgery. In addition, we help people, young and old, recover from illness, accidents, and physical trauma when their physical health, balance, and mobility are affected. We also treat all forms of chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, and myofascial pain syndrome.

So, whether you’re an athlete who is keen to get back on the field, a busy parent with low back pain, or a grandparent with mobility problems; Physical Therapy can help. Often, in the fastest, most effective way possible – without painkillers, steroid injections, or other invasive treatments.

Are you still on the fence and considering Physical Therapy?

If so, we understand you want to know how long your sessions will take so you can plan for time off work or have someone watch your kids. Still, without a thorough evaluation and creating your individualized treatment plan, it’s hard to specify how long your sessions will take.

It depends on what type of therapy, or combination of therapies, will be most effective and how serious your injury or current level of mobility is.

However, most of our patient sessions take between 30 to 60 minutes, give, or take a few minutes on either side. 

When you attend the clinic for your evaluation, your first physical therapy session is likely to take longer than your regular weekly or monthly sessions. That’s because we need to give your body a full MOT and take your medical history.

First, we’ll ask questions about your symptoms and your health before and after the problem started. Then we perform a physical exam to palpate your muscles and joints, check for instabilities, and measure your range of motion, balance, mobility, and strength.

Once we’ve identified the root cause of your problems, we’ll create an individualized treatment program for you to begin at your next session. 

What Are The Benefits Of Physical Therapy?

The following are just a few of the many benefits of Physical Therapy:

Get Out Of Pain – the number #1 benefit of physical therapy is that we’re able to get you out of pain…fast! Even if you’ve been in pain for years and nothing else has helped. Many of our patients come off their pain meds and live a life free from pain and the long-term health effects of pain medication. 

Get Stronger – whether it’s after surgery, illness, or injury, or you want to stay fit and active into your old age. Physical therapy helps you get back on your feet, strengthen your muscles and protect your joints from wear and tear.

Stay Active – a sedentary lifestyle is a contributory factor in many chronic health conditions. Still, it’s hard to stay active if you have pain or a loss of mobility. Regular physical therapy sessions help you stay fit, energetic, and healthy.

Improve your posture – there are many reasons why your posture might have declined. From chronic stress and tension, misaligned bones, and overly tight muscles, to long periods spent hunched over a desk. Physical Therapy helps correct these imbalances, so you can stand tall, get rid of chronic pain, and get your confidence back.

In summary, it’s a total “no-brainer” – especially if you’re in chronic pain.

How To Prepare For Your Physical Therapy Session

Once you’ve decided to go ahead and after you’ve booked your physical therapy session, it’s good to know what to expect. Here are our top tips for preparing for Physical Therapy. 

As we mentioned, the exact length of your sessions may vary. But we recommend you allow 60 minutes for each session – and block a whole hour out of your diary for each appointment.

After you’ve attended a few sessions, you and your therapist might be able to agree on a specific treatment time. For you, it might just be 45 minutes. But until then, it’s best to give yourself lots of time, so you’re not rushing back to work or late for babysitters. 

What Should I Wear?

You don’t need to wear anything specific for your Physical Therapy appointment. Wear whatever you’re comfortable in.  Most patients wear leisurewear – or the type of clothes they would wear to the gym or work out.

Our only request is that you wear something that allows us to easily access the part of your body that requires treatment. If it’s your shoulder – wear a vest. If it’s a knee injury – wear shorts or loose-fitting trousers that roll up easily. We also recommend supportive training shoes that you can move well and exercise in.

If you’re coming straight from work – and wearing tight-fitting clothes or high heels, you can bring a change of clothes and shoes with you and change before your appointment.

What happens during a physical therapy session?

When you attend your first evaluation appointment, your physical therapy will go through your individualized treatment plan. Your therapist will explain what you can specifically expect at each session. But most sessions include one or more of the following therapies:

  • Manual Therapy: to increase blood flow, loosen tight muscles, decrease pain, and restore function.
  • Heat Therapy: the type of heat therapy you receive is based on your specific problem. It might be ice for you, but it could be heat for someone else, or it may not be necessary at all. Your physical therapist will confirm whether you need it during your evaluation. We may also recommend that you use heat/cold therapy at home to aid your recovery. 
  • Electrical Stimulation: we perform this type of therapy only in specific situations like muscle spasms and nerve pain. It helps restore the proper function to muscles using a painless electrical current that works to contract muscles. But, again, if this is deemed necessary for you, it’ll be discussed when your physical therapist gives you your individualized treatment plan. 
  • Therapeutic Exercises: almost all our individualized treatment plans and physical therapy sessions include some form of therapeutic exercise. The specific exercises you’ll do are targeted to the issues you present with. In addition, there will be some exercises you do during your sessions, with supervision. And other simplified rehab exercises or workout routines that you’ll do at home. This combination will deliver at-home, and in-clinic treatment will get you the best possible outcome. 

Are you unsure whether Physical Therapy is right for you?

Yes. Don’t worry. We have many options to help you find out more about Physical Therapy and decide whether it is right for you and your specific situation. 

Please don’t put it off any longer. Without proper treatment, most chronic pain and mobility problems only get worse, especially if you’ve been in pain for a long time.

After a while, these unresolved issues may become a more serious problem requiring dangerous surgery, joint replacement, or expensive pain medications with unpleasant side effects.

It might be hard to imagine a life without pain right now, but it is possible – even in just a few sessions. Don’t believe us? Please read some of our testimonials or book yourself in for a free consultation with one of our skilled, but most of all friendly, Physical Therapists. The only thing you must lose is pain. 

  1. Telephone Consultation – the easiest way to find out more is to book a free consultation with a Physical Therapist. You don’t have to leave your home/office. Instead, we call you at a mutually convenient time and listen to your concerns before advising you on the best way forward. We don’t automatically recommend PT. It might not be suitable for you. If that’s the case, we’ll recommend whom to contact for further help. Regardless of whether the best thing for you is Physical Therapy or something else entirely. Plus, there is no obligation to book additional sessions after your consultation, even if we recommend Physical Therapy.
  2. Discovery Visit – like the telephone consultation, the free taster session we call a Discovery Visit is an opportunity for you to talk directly to a Physical Therapist. Together, we can determine whether we can help before committing to a paid appointment. We call it a discovery visit because you’re able to come and visit us. See what we offer in our family-friendly clinic instead of just chatting on the telephone.
  3. Free Report – if you’re not ready to book a consultation, this is another option for patients unsure whether Physical Therapy is right for them. We’ve created a free guide to the 51 Most Frequently Asked Questions of Physical Therapy. This guide answers all the questions you could think about Physical Therapy. It’s a great resource to explore before choosing whether to book a consultation or a Physical Therapy appointment.
Andrew Vertson