Your Questions Answered
WHAT IS A PHYSICAL THERAPIST?
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) or Physical Therapists (PT) are highly-educated, licensed healthcare professionals that diagnose and treat individuals who have injuries, medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their ability to function and move properly in their daily lives. They create individualized plans to help decrease pain, help individuals restore and maintain appropriate strength and motion to recover from an injury, and help prevent future injuries. They are movement experts and utilize various strengthening and stretching exercises in their rehabilitation programs in addition to other hands-on techniques, such as joint mobilizations, cupping therapy, and massage techniques.
HOW CAN A PHYSICAL THERAPIST HELP YOU?
With their specialized training, they are able to treat a variety of health conditions such as: sports injuries, muscle strains, post-operative care, fractures, chronic pain, arthritis, ligament tears, nerve pain, joint pain, stroke, hypermobility, carpal tunnel syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, spinal cord injuries, dizziness, car accident injuries, osteoporosis, and balance issues. Physical Therapists can specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports, neurological conditions, pelvic health, hand, and oncology to better help their patients return to their active daily lives.
DO I NEED A DOCTOR’S REFERRAL?
All 50 states now have some form of “Direct Access” that allows you to go straight to a PT first, without a physician’s referral. However, there are a few insurance companies that will only pay for your physical therapy session with a referral or a signature from your doctor. Contact the clinic to find out if your insurance company requires a referral prior to your first physical therapy appointment.
WHAT TYPES OF HEALTH INSURANCE DO YOU ACCEPT?
I am an in-network provider with many insurance companies, but also have cash-pay options available for individuals with out-of-network plans or seeking self-pay rates. Contact the clinic for more information.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT AT MY FIRST APPOINTMENT?
During your first visit you can expect the following:
Arrive at your appointment approximately 15 minutes early to fill out information that will help your Physical Therapist better understand your injury. Your insurance also might require additional paperwork in order to cover your sessions.
You will provide us with your prescription or referral for Physical Therapy, if you have one from your doctor.
We will take a copy of your insurance card a valid ID.
You will be seen for the initial evaluation by your Physical Therapist.
Your Physical 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.
Your Physical 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, inflammation, etc.
Range of Motion (ROM) – Active or passive movement of the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
Muscle Testing – Assessment of 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 – Research based movement tests to confirm or rule out the presence of additional problems or injuries.
Posture and Movement Assessment – Identification of asymmetries in your resting posture and movement patterns through a series of movements specific to you, your sport or your injury.
Your Physical 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 and goals in mind. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks he or she anticipates you will need therapy, home exercise programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy.