Does an evaluation hurt?
As a new patient, sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish the difference between pain and soreness...
During your initial Physical Therapy evaluation, your therapist needs to establish a baseline of how your body is currently capable of performing. This often means they will test your limits of comfort and may sometimes lead into pain. We use this baseline testing to help measure and show you progress every few weeks. As a physical therapist we are always looking for your feedback during the evaluation process so we can tailor a physical therapy program that will best fit your abilities. "No pain, no gain" is usually not our philosophy, and we are trying to figure out the most comfortable way to begin your journey of improving your health.
With that in mind, often there can be pain or soreness for the next few days after your initial evaluation. This is obviously different for each patient. Remember that after days, months, or for some people years of pain, that your body begins to compensate in whatever way it can to avoid being uncomfortable. As a result, your body will use muscles differently around the area of pain. This can often lead to weakness, as well as loss of mobility in the joints and muscles.
Your Physical Therapist is trained at giving you the best exercises, as well as hands on treatment, that will address these issues and lead you to overall improved health. However, during the initial phases of this new program your muscles will need time to adjust before you see that you are getting stronger and more mobile. This adjustment period often leads to soreness, but this is a good soreness because your body is starting to change in a way that will lead you to a better quality of life in the future.