Category: Health & Wellness

7 Things to Expect at your First Physical Therapy Appointment

What to Expect:

Your first physical therapy appointment is another step on your road to recovery, and with everything new, it’s nice to travel a road you’re at least somewhat familiar with.

1. Paperwork! (Yeah, we know)

We know it can be frustrating to fill out so much paperwork.  We promise that extra information helps us to better help you.  So thanks in advance!

2.  Assessment of the problem

Even though your very talented physician said that the pain you’re experiencing originates in your shoulder, we just want to confirm the findings. And 95% of the time, we agree with your doctor’s assessment, but the assessment exists for the other 5% of the time. We want to be sure we are treating the origin of the pain. For example, some shoulder pain can originate in your neck instead of the obvious place: your shoulder.

3.  Measurements!

Get ready for measurements: motion measurements, strength measurements, other measurements.

This is really a part of the assessment.  We’ll look at your range of motion and check to see how strong you are, given your injury.

4.  A discussion about anatomy and physiology

You may be thinking “Hurry up and make me better already!”  Oh, just wait.  We will. We will!

But before we prepare you to run a marathon, we want to make sure you understand why your body is in pain/not functioning as it should.

So be ready for a lesson in anatomy and physiology.  We’ll follow that up with a plan of action.  What do you want to be able to do?  Lift a small car?  Maybe more realistically, lift a small child, or get back to running, cooking, dancing, etc.

5. Get your homework…er…home exercise list

Many people who attend therapy often don’t realize that home exercises are an integral part of their physical therapy.

Your physical therapist needs to make sure that you can perform the exercises correctly at home.  What good is therapy if you can’t do the required movements at home?

A lot of times people go to the first appointment in jeans, which is okay depending on your therapist.  However, it’s best to arrive in athletic wear/comfortable clothing that you can move in–especially since your therapist will try to have you complete a few of each home exercise.

6.  Clearing up misconceptions (no you won’t be leaping over buildings next week)

Many people arrive at therapy and look around at other people in the room.  Doing that tends to make people ask questions like “why can’t I move like that yet?” or “we had surgery the same day, but he doesn’t seem to be in as much pain as me.  Why not?”

A few thoughts on expectations:

  • They tend to occur because people compare themselves unfairly to others.  Don’t do it.  Your body may respond better or worse than someone else’s body.
  • They can cause people to become dejected.  If you expect to be better after surgery right away, you’re going to be disappointed (depending on the surgery), so take it slow and listen to your therapist’s expectations.
  • Sometimes, people expect to be down and out for quite some time.  That’s also not always the case.  You may be up and moving sooner than you expect.
  • Listen to your therapist’s assessment and then grill them with all of your questions.  That usually solves the misconception problem.

7.  Support – We Get You!

Your therapist wants to support you.  They want you to get back to the lifestyle you want.  Many therapists have also experienced an accident or surgery that landed them in therapy, so they’ve been through it themselves, and they help dozens of people each day to move one step closer to being healed.

Talk to them.  They’ll hear you out.  Therapists are pretty good listeners after all.

Taking The Scary Out of Halloween Treats

Taking The Scary Out of Halloween Treats by Allison Bowers, Registered Dietitian

Every year around this time, the junk food questions really start rolling in! Halloween through New Year’s is a challenging time for everyone’s waist lines! The best thing you can do is to have a plan and give yourself permission! Plan for that piece of candy after lunch to stop yourself from gorging on 5 pieces later on.  Keep the candy in a spot where you have to take the stairs to get to get some.

I’ve also reviewed some of the better-for-you options below:

  1. Peanut M&Ms (tiny bit of protein and some healthy fat)
  2. Almond Kisses (Same as those M&Ms… try to keep it limited to 2!)
  3. York Peppermint Patties (Low in calories, pre-portioned, and made with dark chocolate! Hello? The trifecta!)
  4. 1 oz. Dark Chocolate (Dove and Hershey do a great job, here!)
  5. Mini Tootsie Rolls (Just 35 calories each!)
  6. Mini 3 Musketeers (Just 25 calories each!)
  7. 2-pack mini Twizzlers (While not exactly nutrient dense, there is only 50 calories in a 2-pack with 0g of fat)
  8. Opt for fruit snacks made with real fruit. Most provide quite a bit of Vitamin C and potassium!

Some of the “slower” candies help curb that craving, too! If you are one who has a hard time going back for another piece or 2, opt for something that will take longer to finish, such as lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, and gum.

Just some tricks to help you love your treats!

Want to learn more about Healthy Eating Through the Holidays?

Allison Bowers, our Registered Dietitian, who will be hosting Wellness Wednesdays on November 11th! Come listen to Allison’s tips for managing your nutrition throughout the entire holiday season!


Call us today to Register for this Event!

(315) 765-0063


Welcome to Achievement Therapy & Wellness!

We are excited to open our doors to serve the Central New York Community.

Here’s a little information about us!

ATW is a Health, Wellness and Physical Therapy Center located on Genesee St in Utica, NY.

Our mission is to positively impact the health and wellness of community members locally, nationally and globally.

Our vision is to impact the health and wellness of 100,000 lives!

ATW gives back!  We believe in paying it forward. We donate a portion of all our proceeds to support people with disability locally, nationally, and globally through our nonprofit partner, Community Rehab Project.

These donations support Central New York children and adults with short and long term disabilities through providing grants for uninsured and underinsured children and adults in our community for their health, wellness and rehabilitation needs.

These donations also support our sister clinic in Gonaives, Haiti where we serve the need of children and adults in Haiti with their health, wellness and rehabilitation .  We travel regularly to Haiti to bring needed supplies, equipment and to work in the clinic.  We bring multidisciplinary teams of health professionals with us who consistently report this is a lifechanging experience.

We are looking to being able to do so much more locally nationally and globally in the future. We truly believe in “Being the Change we Wish to See in the World – Mahatma Ghandi” and believe that starts with ourselves.

What we Offer:  We have created some amazing programs that we will be sharing in more detail over the next weeks.

  • Our Balance Center is one a kind!  If you or a loved one is dizzy, has vertigo, has poor balance or has fallen recently, give us a call.  We provide FREE balance screens and identify your individual needs. We offer a multipronged approach to care. Our goal is to keep you safe and independent in your home without need for physical assistance or need for long term care.
  • Our Physical Therapy services provide services for people with all kinds of orthopedic, vestibular, concussion, and neurological conditions.  Our highly trained therapists provide a world class experience in a friendly and positive environment.
  • We provide a variety of Health and Wellness Programs by an amazing and talented group of professionals.  We  know that healthcare can be very expensive and we have found some ways to help provide what you need in cost effective ways.  Our Health and Wellness team includes the highest trained individuals in the health and wellness field providing you care above what you can find in ordinary fitness centers. Our team includes Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Language Pathologists, Dieticians and more!

We are excited to become part of the CNY Community.  The entire team at ATW would love you to choose us for your Health, Wellness and Rehabilitation Needs.

Let’s Do This!


Dr. Ginger Oliver, PT, AIB-VR/CON
Achievement Therapy & Wellness
2504 Genesee St
Utica, NY 13502