Physical Therapy Evaluation

Your healthcare provider may refer you to physical therapy or you may make an appointment on your own, depending on your insurance, to address particular medical problems or needs.  When referred to one of the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology clinics, you can expect a complete review of a patient questionnaire on your first visit.  The questionnaire allows you to provide information about your problem(s), how the problem(s) affect you in your daily activities and what your expectations are as a result of going through physical therapy.  Following the review of your condition, an evaluation is performed to help identify what may be causing the problem(s) and to formulate a rehabilitation plan of care.  The following may be assessed during the physical therapist’s evaluation:  provacative maneuvers (maneuvers that may increase symptoms), joint flexibility, strength, general mobility, posture and core stability (stability of the trunk musculature), muscle tone and myofascial (muscle and connective tissue) restrictions.

Flexibility is a measure of the ability of the joints to move through their full range of motion.  If there are limitations to flexibility, the ability to move and exert force efficiently will be adversely affected.

Strength is a measure of the ability to exert force.  If the joints are restricted and painful, or if a particular medical condition exists that affects how the muscle may function, the ability to exert force is compromised.

Mobility, from a medical perspective, is the ability to move about.  Components of mobility are strength, endurance (the ability to use what strength we have over a period of time), flexibility, coordination, balance and equilibrium.

Muscles produce the required force for mobility and stability of body parts.  Muscle tone refers to the tautness or laxity of muscle tissue.  Too much tone will not allow full mobility.  This may be a result of a particular medical condition (for example, stroke or MS) or from protective mechanisms as a result of pain.  Too little tone is a leads to instability.  Chronic, increased muscle tone may lead to myofascial restrictions, which are areas of tightness of the muscle tissue membrane surrounding the muscle tissue.