Do I need a referral for treatment?
A referral is not always necessary. Please ask about your insurance’s coverage when you schedule your first visit with us. We can help you determine whether a referral is needed.
What happens during my first visit?
During your first visit you can expect the following:
Arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed. Please check our forms page for details about what to bring to your appointment.
You will be seen for the initial evaluation by a board licensed physical therapist.
The therapist will discuss the following:
Your medical history
Your current condition and reason for seeking treatment
Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem
How this impacts your daily activities
Your goals for 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, inflammation, etc.
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. Muscle strength is graded with pain and weakness noted. This is also part of a neurological screening.
Neurological Screening – the therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles and sensation of touch. Reflexes may be assessed as well.
Special Tests – the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of orthopedic pathologies.
Posture Assessment – the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.
The therapist will then formulate a list of issues you are experiencing and how to treat those problems. 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.
How should I dress?
You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice. For low back problems, wear a loose-fitting shirt and pants so we can perform a thorough examination.
How long will each treatment last?
Treatment sessions typically last 30 to 60 minutes per visit.
How many visits will I need?
This is highly variable. You may need one visit or you may need weeks to months of care. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history and more.
Is physical therapy painful?
The primary physical therapy objective is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on therapy treatments and exercise to maintain mobility gains from these hand-on interventions. In some cases, physical therapy techniques can be painful, but this is not the goal.
For example, recovering range of motion after total knee replacement or range of motion after shoulder surgery may be painful. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency and duration of pain to your therapist.
How does the billing process work?
Billing for physical therapy services is similar to what happens at your doctor’s office. When you are seen for treatment, the following occurs:
The physical therapist bills your insurance company, Workers’ Comp, or charges you based on Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes.
Those codes are transferred to a billing form that is either mailed or electronically communicated to the payer.
The payer processes this information and makes payments according to an agreed-upon fee schedule.
An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is generated and sent to the patient and the physical therapy clinic with a check for payment and a balance due by the patient.
The patient is expected to make the payment on the balance, if any.
It is important to understand that there are many small steps (beyond the outline provided above) within the process.
What will I have to do after physical therapy?
Some patients will need to continue with home exercises. Some may choose to continue with a gym exercise program. Others will complete their rehabilitation and return to normal daily activities. It is important that you communicate your goals to your therapist during your initial evaluation and on an ongoing basis so they develop and refine your custom program with you.