Health blog

What is involved in an annual wellness exam at a physical therapy clinic?

November 2nd, 2021
What Is a Wellness Exam

For nearly two years now, health and wellness have been serious concerns for many Americans. It’s not too surprising then that a 2020 survey found that 57% of Americans claimed that they were prioritizing their health and wellness even over financial concerns. 

One way to take a first step toward improving your wellness is to have an annual physical therapy exam. However, many people who read this might be wondering why they should turn to a physical therapist for an annual wellness exam. They might also be curious about what is involved in such an exam. Let’s answer these questions for you. 

Why turn to a physical therapist for an annual wellness exam?

Most people would probably think they need to go to their doctor for an annual wellness exam. They don’t even consider going to a physical therapist for such a checkup. However, getting a yearly checkup from a physical therapist can be helpful for several reasons. 

For one thing, physical therapists focus on different things than your primary care doctor would. They can take a closer look at the health and wellness of the bones, muscles and other structures that make up your musculoskeletal system. That can be helpful since it is this system that allows you to perform every movement and activity you do every day. 

What is involved in an annual wellness exam from a physical therapist? 

What is included in an annual wellness exam performed by a physical therapist can vary. Each person is different, after all. They may also be dealing with different musculoskeletal issues. However, there are several general steps that are typically included in the annual wellness exam your physical therapist will perform. Some of these include: 

  1. A joint mobility check — Determining how mobile your joints are is a vital part of an annual wellness assessment. Why? Your joints are the sites where many of the movements you do every day take place. 

Pain in your knees when walking up and down the stairs. Difficulty opening doors. Trouble grasping cups or phones. These are just a few of the consequences of poor joint mobility. Your physical therapist can measure your joints’ mobility and range of motion (ROM). They can then take steps to help you if your joint mobility is poor.  

  1. A spinal mobility check — A mobile spine is necessary for all the bending and twisting movements you do daily — often, without thinking much about them. Physical therapists can assess your spinal mobility during your annual wellness exam. This typically involves your therapist asking you to move your spine in various ways and recording any difficulties you have. The information can then be used both for tracking your future mobility and as the basis for a physical therapy plan to improve your spinal mobility. 
  1. A muscle strength and flexibility check — Your joints and spine both require help from soft tissue to move. Your muscles are the most important of these soft tissue structures. However, they can often become weak or stiff in their own right. Your physical therapist can determine your muscle strength and flexibility levels during your annual wellness exam. They can also make recommendations about how to improve them. 

Have a beneficial annual wellness exam at Rehab Access

Keen to learn more about what an annual wellness exam is able to do for you? Our Rehab Access Physical Therapy clinicians are eager to help you. Our physical therapists are well versed in the human musculoskeletal system and its disorders. This knowledge allows them to assess various parts of your body effectively either when you’re in pain or as part of an annual wellness checkup. 

Contact our team today for more information about how we can help improve your health and wellness or to schedule an initial appointment with us.