FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is treatment to improve mobility (such as walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed), to relieve pain, and to restore physical function and overall fitness. The physical therapist uses exercise, manual therapy, education, and modalities such as heat, cold, and electrical stimulation to work toward these goals.
Depending on the injury, disease, or condition, physical therapy may include work on flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and/or balance. Treatment may focus on preventing problems or treating problems that affect any or a combination of the following::
- Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones (musculoskeletal system).
- Your nerves and related muscles (neuromuscular system).
- Your heart and related blood vessels (cardiovascular system).
- Your lungs and breathing (pulmonary system).
- Your skin, including wounds and burns.
Any combination of two or more of these.
Does Insurance pay for Physical Therapy?
Most insurance companies will pay for Physical Therapy; however, your health plan may require you to pay a co-pay or a certain percentage of your bill. For more details, you can call your insurance carrier. Or, if you are coming in for treatment, as a courtesy we will verify your health plan benefits for you before your evaluation.
What do I bring with me on my first day?
Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor) and your payment information. If your insurance is covering the cost of physical therapy, bring your insurance card. If you are covered by Workers’ Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager’s contact information. If you are covered by auto insurance or an attorney lien, make sure you bring this information.
What will happen AT the first visit?
During your first visit you can expect the following:
- Arrive at your appointment and fill out paperwork
- You will provide us with your prescription for physical therapy.
- We will copy your insurance card.
- You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.
The therapist will discuss the following:
• Your medical history.
• Your current problems/complaints.
• Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
• How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
• Your goals with physical therapy.
• Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.
The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:
Palpation – touching around the area of the pain/problem. This is done to check for the presence of tenderness, swelling, soft tissue integrity, tissue temperature, or inflammation.
Range of Motion (ROM) – the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
Muscle Testing – the therapist may check for strength and the quality of the muscle contraction. Pain and weakness may be noted. Often the muscle strength is graded. This is also part of a neurological screening.
Neurological Screening – the therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, sensing touch, pain, vibration, or temperature. Reflexes may be assessed as well.
Special Tests – the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.
Posture Assessment – the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.
The therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and how to treat those problems. A plan is subsequently developed with the patient’s input. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy. This plan is created with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.
What do I wear?
Please wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes. If you have a hip, knee, or foot problem, shorts will be helpful.
How long will each treatment last?
Your treatment can last between 45 – 60 minutes and is based upon your current condition.
Will massage be part of my treatment?
Massage may be part of your treatment. Rehabilitation specialists are trained in a variety of techniques that may help with your recovery. Deep tissue techniques may be part of the rehabilitative process. Massage is used for three reasons typically – to facilitate venous return from a swollen area, to relax a tight muscle, or to relieve pain. Contrary to common thought, massage does not increase circulation.
How long does it take before I feel results?
Some patients feel relief after the first visit; most patients will begin to feel the results of their physical therapy after several visits. Patients usually come to physical therapy 2-3 times a week for 1-2 months, although the length of treatment may differ for each patient.
How will my doctor follow my progress?
Your physician is provided with your evaluation, re-evaluation and progress notes. We’ll keep your doctor well informed of your progress throughout your entire treatment.
What will be expected of me?
In order to get the most out of your treatment, it is very important to attend all your scheduled appointments. If you are unable to attend, please notify the office within 12 hours so that the schedule can be adjusted. Failure to comply with the 12-hour Cancellation Policy will result in a $25.00 fee charged to the patient.