Making the Right Choice: How to Choose a Physical Therapist

physical therapist

When it comes to your health and well-being, making an informed choice can make all the difference between a swift and effective recovery and a prolonged and challenging rehabilitation journey. Selecting a physical therapist, the expert who will guide you through healing is one of the most important decisions you can make when dealing with an injury, surgery, recovery, or chronic pain.

Your physical therapist is not just a healthcare provider; they’re your partner in reclaiming your mobility and enhancing your quality of life. This guide reviews the key factors you should consider when choosing a physical therapist, ensuring the knowledge needed to make the right choice for your health and happiness.

Why Choose a Physical Therapist?

Physical therapists are highly trained healthcare professionals specializing in improving and restoring mobility, function, and overall quality of life. They play a crucial role in rehabilitation by providing personalized treatment plans and expert guidance.

Choosing the right physical therapist can significantly help the effectiveness and efficiency of your recovery. With a physical therapist, you receive the following:

  • Personalized Care — Physical therapists assess your unique needs and develop customized treatment plans. With this more individualized approach, your therapy is tailored to your specific condition and goals.
  • Non-Invasive Solutions Physical therapy often provides non-invasive or minimally invasive alternatives to surgery or medication. It helps you heal and regain function naturally.
  • Preventive Care — Physical therapists are not for recovery alone; they can help you prevent injuries, improve fitness, and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
  • Pain Management — When dealing with chronic pain, a physical therapist can teach you techniques to manage and relieve discomfort.
  • Holistic Approach — Physical therapists consider your entire well-being, addressing not just the physical but emotional and psychological aspects of your recovery as well.
  • Education — A good physical therapist will educate you about your condition, recovery process, and ways to maintain long-term health.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Physical Therapist

Now that we know why physical therapy is important, let’s consider some key factors when selecting the right physical therapist for your needs.

Assess Your Needs

Before you start your search for a physical therapist, take the time to assess your specific needs. Do you require rehabilitation after surgery, or are you looking for relief from chronic pain? Understanding your needs is the first step in finding the perfect therapist.

  • Post-Surgery Rehabilitation — If you’ve recently had surgery, you’ll need a physical therapist with experience in post-surgical recovery.
  • Chronic Pain — For chronic pain management, look for therapists with expertise in pain relief techniques.
  • Sports Injury — If you’re an athlete, consider a therapist with sports-specific experience.
  • Pediatric or Geriatric Care — If you’re seeking therapy for children or elderly family members, specialized therapists may be necessary.

Credentials and Licensing

The first and most crucial factor when choosing a physical therapist is that they are licensed to practice in your state. They should have the appropriate qualifications, like passing the National Physical Therapy Examination, and be certified through the American Physical Therapy Association.

Licensing provides quality control in healthcare. When licensed, a physical therapist has been trained in the proper techniques and safety measures required for different types of treatments.


Consider the therapist’s specialization and experience in treating your specific condition. Whether it is orthopedic, sports, neurological, or pediatric therapy, choosing the right therapist with the expertise in your needs can make all the difference in your recovery.


Experience can be a game-changer when it comes to choosing a physical therapist. More experienced therapists tend to have a better understanding of different conditions and how to address them effectively.


When it comes to physical therapy, location matters. Make sure to look for a clinic that is easily accessible and suits your schedule. This ensures you will be more likely to attend your appointments consistently.


Whether they come from your primary care physician, friends, family, or other healthcare professionals, recommendations are invaluable when considering a physical therapist for several reasons. Considering recommendations usually come from individuals you trust, their insights can give you confidence in the therapist’s abilities and the quality of care they offer.

Those who recommend a physical therapist likely know your specific condition or needs and will make a recommendation based on how well that therapist aligns with your specific circumstances. By visiting a physical therapist that someone you trust has recommended, you might feel less anxious when starting a new healthcare journey, and this emotional support can make your recovery process smoother.

Reviews and Testimonials

Online reviews and patient testimonials can provide insight into the experiences of others who have received treatment from a particular therapist or clinic. Make sure to consider these reviews during your decision-making process.

Communication Skills

Effective communication between you and your physical therapist is a must. A good therapist will listen to your concerns, provide clear explanations, and involve you through every step of your treatment plan.

You must also feel comfortable discussing your condition and progress with your physical therapist. Here are some things to consider:

  • Open Communication — A good therapist will be an active listener, able to understand your concerns and needs.
  • Clear Explanation — They should explain your treatment plan clearly and answer any questions you have.
  • Empathy — A compassionate therapist can make your journey to recovery more comfortable and less stressful.

Availability and Scheduling

Physical therapists often have busy schedules, so finding one that can accommodate your availability is essential. Ensure their office hours align with your schedule, especially if you have work or other commitments.

Treatment Approach and Techniques

Different physical therapists may utilize different treatment approaches and techniques. Some may focus on manual therapy, while others emphasize exercises or modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation. Ensure that the physical therapist’s approach aligns with your preferences and needs.

Get the Exceptional Care You Deserve at UpSlope Physical Therapy

The choice of a physical therapist holds immense power over your well-being and quality of life.  When you entrust your rehabilitation journey with UpSlope Physical Therapy & Performance, you can expect nothing short of exceptional care that goes above and beyond.

To ensure the highest level of treatment, each session provides a full hour of one-on-one, individualized care with your dedicated doctor of physical therapy. At UpSlope, you will never be treated by a rehab aide or assistant, meaning you have a personalized and top-quality experience.

We are not just committed during your in-clinic visits; we are accessible 24/7. We understand a complete rehabilitation process means you have direct access to your physical therapist even between visits if you have any questions or concerns. Your well-being is our priority every step of the way.

Choose UpSlope Physical Therapy to embark on a transformative journey towards recovery and better health – one step at a time. Your vibrant tomorrow begins today. Contact us now!

author avatar
Brady Hoffmann
As an active individual, staying healthy and injury-free is important to you. You make time for your workouts and training because it helps you focus, spend time with yourself, and work toward your goals.

Brady Hoffmann DPT, ATC

Owner and Founder of UpSlope PT

We Help Athletes and Active Adults Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active And Get Back To What They Love To Do.