Physical Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

  • What do I need to bring with me?
    • If you are referred by your physician, make sure to bring your referral along with any payment information. If we are billing your insurance company, bring your insurance card. If this is a Workers’ Compensation visit, we need your claim number and case manager’s contact information.

  • How do I dress?
    • Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing, in case we need to expose the affected/injury area for evaluation and treatment.

  • How long will each session last?
    • Expect sessions to last from 30 to 60 minutes per visit.

  • What do physical therapists do?
    • Simply put, bone follows muscle. Imagine a skeleton with only ligaments holding it together. Left to stand it falls into a pile of bones on the floor. Your muscular system, connected by tendons to bones, and joints, is what aligns and supports the posture and movement of your body. The ability to maintain a “properly” aligned upright posture and to move your arms and legs to perform all sorts of tasks and activities is an important component of your health. All of these activities require a healthy musculoskeletal system (muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones) to move properly without difficulty or pain.

  • Why is physical therapy a good choice?
    • Physical therapists are experts at treating movement and neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Pain resulting from accidents, injuries, a lifetime of poor posture, and degenerative conditions are often accompanied by a movement disorder. This is often treatable without the need for medications. By addressing the root cause of your limitations, physical therapists can often help correct the disorder and relieve the pain.

      Because physical therapists are experts in movement and function, a large part of their programs are directed at recovering and prevention of ongoing injury, or loss of movement that otherwise might require surgery. The cornerstones of physical therapy treatments are therapeutic exercise and functional training. However, in addition to “hands-on” care, physical therapists also educate patients how to maintain their health, with the goal of having them lead pain-free lives, independent of the need for ongoing treatments.

      Physical therapists may also employ a combination of other treatment methods, such as ultrasound, hot packs, ice, therapeutic massage, neuromuscular work, and hydrotherapy.

  • How many visits will be required?
    • This is uniquely dependent on each individual diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, physical condition, age, etc. After your initial evaluation, you will receive a schedule with the frequency (number of times per week) and expected duration (weeks, months) for you to regain “normal” function. You will then be continuously re-evaluated to monitor progress and adjust your treatment program as needed.

  • Why are people referred to physical therapy?
    • The majority of new patients are referred to a physical therapist to address a movement dysfunction associated with pain. Any difficulty moving a part(s) of your body, bending at the low back or difficulty sleeping on your shoulder, etc., often results in limitations reflected in your daily activities (e.g., difficulty getting out of a chair, an inability to play sports, or trouble with walking, etc.). Physical therapists address and treat these movement dysfunctions along with their associated pains to restore your body’s ability to move in a normal pain-free manner.

  • Who normally pays for the treatment?
    • In most cases, health insurance will cover your treatment. Check with your provider or speak with one of our staff.

  • Who will see me?
    • You will be evaluated by one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists. Normally the therapist performing your initial evaluation will also treat you during subsequent visits. We feel it is very important to develop a one-on-one relationship with you to maintain continuity of care. Your physical therapist knows your problems best and will be best qualified to speed your recovery.

  • Is physical therapy painful?
    • For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on techniques, modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy. Movement often provides pain relief as well. Your physical therapist will provide you with the appropriate exercises not only for pain relief but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.

      Depending on the injury, physical therapy techniques may be painful. Recovering full range of motion after total knee replacement or your shoulders full range of motion after surgery may be painful. Your physical therapist will employ a variety of techniques and treatment options to help you recover as quickly and pain-free as possible.

  • Is massage part of my physical therapy program?
    • Physical Therapists are trained in a variety of techniques to help speed your recovery. Deep tissue massage techniques may be part of your rehabilitation process if it is called for. Massage is primarily used for three reasons: to facilitate the venous return from a swollen area, to relax a tight muscle, or to relieve pain.

  • What can I expect after physical therapy is completed?
    • Depending on your condition and injury, some patients may need to continue with some form of home exercises. Others will complete their rehabilitation and return to normal daily activities. It is important that you communicate your goals to your therapist, so he/she can develop a custom program for you.