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6 Things to Know About Core Physical Therapy For First Time Patients


Physical ailments can affect us at any age, which is why physical therapy is great for anybody and everybody! Our unique process allows us to assess will vary slightly depending on what you have going on, but there is a general outline that is common to every appointment.

This short post is meant to help you feel more comfortable and prepared for your first physical therapy visit.


Iowa is a direct access state, which means that if you have private insurance, you can schedule an appointment with us without having to see a physician. This is helpful when dealing with musculoskeletal injuries and conditions, as physical therapists are experts on how the body moves. If you have insurance through the government, then you’ll likely need a referral from a physician before beginning therapy. If you have questions or are unsure, contact your insurance company, as they will be able to tell you for sure what is needed. Once you’re ready, just go to this page to get in contact with one of our Core Physical Therapy location.


A photo ID and your current insurance card (if utilizing insurance) will be needed at the first visit. There are also a few forms to fill out before your first appointment, which can be found under the Forms and Resources tab here. These forms are also emailed to you prior to your first appointment. If you are not able to print and fill them out beforehand, plan to arrive 10 minutes early to fill the forms out in the office to make sure you get the most out of your first appointment!


West Des Moines: When you arrive, there is parking on the east, south, and west sides of the building, with handicapped parking available on the east and west sides, closest to the building. If entering from the west, there is a flight of stairs to go up to get to the elevators. If stairs are difficult for you, the east entrance has a ramp leading up to the doors, and you’ll still have access to the elevators. The south entrance is a circle drive with a handicapped accessible door, also with elevator access. However, parking is not allowed in the circle drive, so you’ll need to bring someone along who can then park your vehicle if you need this option. We are located on the 3 rd floor, and our clinic doors are right in front of the elevators.

Adel: Parking spots are available on the North or South sides of the building.


At the initial evaluation, we’ll begin by discussing the history of what you have going on, along with any other information your therapist thinks may be relevant to your condition. After understanding your history, we will go through an examination to assess how your body is moving and see what areas may be contributing to what you are experiencing. Then, with this information in mind, we will move on to the treatment portion of the appointment.

This often involves finding an exercise or two that we believe will be the most beneficial for you at that moment because we want to equip you with some tools to address things on your own. We will also treat using other techniques, such as myofascial release and craniosacral therapy, based on what we think will help you the most. Because the body works together and everything is connected, the cause of your issue may be in a location other than where you feel your symptoms.

“I went from pain when walking to pain free in two visits! Love that they were able to target that what hurt- an area in my back- was just a symptom of the real issue- a stuck rib up front. Through extremely gentle manual manipulation in the giant, quiet office + at-home breathing techniques, I’m back to normal activity. Thanks, Laura & Ellen!”


During the initial evaluation, we discuss with you the plan going forward. Often, this involves additional appointments to make sure you are on the right track to continue to make progress towards your goals and helping teach you how to manage things on your own and prevent future issues. Future sessions involve a brief check in on any updates with how you are feeling and any progress made, followed by more time devoted to treatment.

Your therapist might want to see you 2-3 times a week, or once every 2-3 weeks. Often, receiving treatment more frequently helps you get to feeling better sooner. Then as you are able to manage things on your own with the help of your Home Exercise Program, we can reduce the visit frequency while maintaining the progress that was made. You’ll receive reminders of upcoming appointments either via text or email—pay attention to the day and time as they are easy to mix up!


If you find that you are feeling really great and want to keep optimizing your health, we offer a cash-based program, not offered through insurance, called Whole Health that will help you continue feeling well. This program came out of our patients’ interest in continuing to work with their physical therapist on an ongoing basis. Here is a dedicated blog post to dive into this program more.

“This place is amazing. The front desk ladies are so incredibly kind and organized and helpful. I see Mary Beth and am a somewhat difficult case, and I just cannot possibly say enough good things about the care I receive from her. She is kind and genuinely cares about what’s going on. She listens very carefully to the other doctors that I’m working with so she fully understands what I need, in order to provide the best care possible. She has changed my quality of life very significantly. She also sends me home with exercises that truly help, which makes me feel like I am able to do things to improve myself too – very empowering. I would recommend Core in a heartbeat, with no hesitation whatsoever!”

Hopefully this has helped you feel more confident and prepared going into your first appointment with us! If you do have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us. We look forward to helping you, and are honored to be trusted with your care.



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