What Does a PT Session Look Like?

There is a lot of variety that goes into a physical therapy session, especially depending on the client and what they are being treated for. During a session, the physical therapist will get to know about the client’s condition or injury that they are seeking treatment for.

A typical layout of a physical therapy treatment session may look like the following. 


The session will begin with the physical therapist walking the client through specific stretches and warm up exercises that are made to aid in movement. This can be done with or without equipment depending on what is being focused for improvement. Most PTs like having their patients begin their sessions with a warm up exercise to prepare the muscles for strengthening throughout the session.

Therapeutic modalities 

The therapist may also include different therapeutic modalities to a client’s treatment plan for increasing blood flow, flexibility, reducing swelling, or to manage pain levels. Some of these techniques include the following: 

  • Heat/Ice
  • Laser
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Dry needling 
  • Ultrasound

Massage and mobilization

The treatment plan may involve some type of soft tissue massage and mobilization in order to increase blood flow as well as relieve pain. Stretches improve range of motion and flexibility.  

Strengthening Exercises

The next part of the physical therapy session typically involves using equipment/weights in order to strengthen the muscles surrounding the problem area/injury. The PT will show the client how to perform each exercise and monitor the progress throughout the sessions. The client will also be assigned more basic exercises to do at home to continue strengthening.

The physical therapist will communicate with the client as to how long the treatment should last as well as the duration of treatment. He or she will also establish pain levels at each session with the patient to properly evaluate the ongoing treatments.