This is a list of our most frequently asked questions. For more information, or to ask our staff additional questions, please contact us anytime.
Q - Why do I need physical therapy?
A - Physical therapy is prescribed by your physician to help you regain lost pain free function following injury, surgery or a progressive medical condition such as arthritis, deconditioning or diabetes. Your physical therapist will evaluate you and provide hands on care and prescribe exercises to help you regain lost pain free function. Physical therapy is also helpful in preventing falls to people at risk, enhancing sports performance and preventing injuries to athletes.
Q - How long will my physical therapy sessions last?
A - The initial evaluation will last approximately 45-60 minutes depending upon the complexity of the diagnosis. You will also be receiving a treatment on the first visit. Follow up appointments typically vary in length and are dependent upon the type of injury and the level of rehabilitation that is required. Usually the follow up appointments will last between 45 and 75 minutes. There is no specific time limit for physical therapy sessions.
Q - How long will I be coming to therapy?
A This depends on multiple factors. Your physician’s prescription gives an initial time frame for therapy. You will be continually assessed by your therapist during your visits and he/she will provide additional recommendations based on how you are progressing and if you have met your function goals. Your insurance company may limit the number of visits that they pay for. Communication between you and your therapist is very important for achieving your desired goals and working to get the most out of your therapy experience.
Q - How is my progress measured?
A - Your physical therapist performs a meticulous evaluation quantifying and qualifying all of the functional deficits by using standardized tests and measurements. You will be reevaluated every 30 days or just prior to your follow up consultation with your referring physician. A complete reevaluation will be performed that includes all tests and measurements that were performed on your initial evaluation. This new data can be directly compared to your baseline measurements to demonstrate both subjective and objective improvements. Continuation of your therapy will be dependent upon the results of your reevaluation, insurance authorization and physician approval. All reevaluations are sent to your referring physician prior to your follow up consultation so that he/she will be apprised of your progress.
Q - Will I see only one therapist for all of my appointments?
A - Yes you can. However many patients are happy to see two therapists in order to have greater flexibility in scheduling. In addition there is value in having two therapists collaborate on your care.
Q - What will I be doing during my physical therapy sessions?
A - Your physical therapist will complete a thorough evaluation on your first visit and establish an individualized plan of care based upon your specific needs. Physical therapists have a variety of skills to utilize including manual techniques, specific therapeutic exercises and modalities if indicated. Most importantly we provide you with the necessary education for your condition including the healing processes and injury prevention. Additionally we will help you establish an effective home program to follow independently to supplement your treatment program and to eventually utilize independently once your formal physical therapy program has been completed. Physical therapists utilize best practice skills and exercises taken from current scientific research which is called evidence based practice.
Q - Am I going to be the only patient you are treating while I am at therapy?
A - No, our therapists treat up to three patients per hour. All patients receive one on one treatment time during every visit for manual therapy and to go over the specific exercises for your home exercise program. Your physical therapist may treat other patients while you are performing your exercises.
Q - Do I need to do a home exercise program? How much time will this take?
A - Yes a home exercise program is essential in helping you regain pain free function. It can be done in about 15 minutes on a daily basis.
Q - How many physical therapy treatment sessions will I have?
A - Each patient’s diagnosis is different so together with your referring physician your therapist will develop a plan of care that is right for you. Your plan of care and number of visits per week will be determined during your first visit.
Q - What level of education and training do physical therapists have?
A - Physical therapists have graduated from accredited post baccalaureate programs and passed their state board examination. Depending on the university, the physical therapy program is either a masters or clinical doctorate level degree. In a few years all physical therapy programs will be graduating clinical doctorates.
Q - Can I come in and work out at the office and do I need an appointment?
A - We do offer a fitness program for our patients who have finished their formal physical therapy treatment. After completing a fitness consultation with a physical therapist former patients are welcome to come to the office and work out with physical therapist supervision during regular office hours Monday through Friday without an appointment. The per month fees for our fitness program are $50 for adults and students and $40 for adults over 62.
Q - Will I have a copay for treatments and do I need to pay it at the time of each of my visits?
A - Yes, most patients have either a copay, or deductible and we do ask that you pay it at the time of each of your visits. We will do our best to obtain information regarding your insurance benefits and out of pocket expenses but we ask you to check your benefits by contacting your insurance company also.
Q - I have Medicare. How many visits of physical therapy am I allowed per year?
A - There is not a set number of visits that you are allowed by Medicare per year. Instead, you are allowed a certain dollar amount, or therapy cap limit per calendar year. As of January 1, 2015 the Medicare therapy cap limit is $1,940. for physical therapy and speech-language therapy combined. We make every effort possible to keep you notified as you approach the Medicare therapy cap limit. Once you reach your first cap you and your therapist will discuss your progress and then decide whether or not your treatment plan of care qualifies you for an exception to the Medicare’s therapy cap limit.
Q - What is my copay with Medicare?
A - As of January 1, 2015 the Part B deductible for Medicare is $147. Once you have met your annual deductible, Medicare will pay 80% of the amount allowed for each claim and the other 20% is your responsibility. If your have a secondary insurance, we will forward your 20% patient responsibility to them for consideration. You may still have to pay something after your secondary insurance pays us. (Example: Medicare allows $100. for your claim. Medicare will pay $80. and hold you responsible for $20. If you have a secondary insurance with a $10. copay, your secondary insurance will pay $10. and hold you personally responsible for the $10. copay.)
Q - Will Medicare cover home health care and outpatient physical therapy at the same time?
A - If you are receiving any type of home healthcare (i.e. in home physical therapy, home health aide, visiting nurse, wound care, blood draw etc.) Medicare will not pay for outpatient physical therapy. Once you have been discharged from home healthcare services you are then eligible to receive out patient physical therapy.
Q - What do I need to provide to the office if I was hurt at work and I want workers' compensation insurance to pay for my therapy treatments?
A - If your treatment is to be paid for by workers' compensation insurance you will need to provide our office with the insurance company’s name, claim number, injury date, your employer’s name and address and your social security number during your first visit.
Q - Can I receive physical therapy treatments without a prescription? Will my insurance pay for my treatments?
A - After an evaluation physical therapists can treat you for up to 10 visits or 30 days whichever comes first without a physician’s prescription. Our fee is $85. per visit. All insurance companies require a prescription from a physician in order to prove medical necessity and pay for your treatments.
Q - Should I expect to experience pain during or after physical therapy?
A - Depending upon your condition it is not uncommon to have soreness after your session. The soreness should not last for more than a day. Speak to your physical therapist if it lasts longer.
Q - When do I use hot or cold therapy?
A - Heat and cold are the two most common types of noninvasive and nonaddictive pain relief therapies for muscle and joint pain. Which one to use depends on whether the pain is new or recurring. In general a new injury will cause inflammation and possibly swelling. Pain and stiffness that reoccurs can be treated with heat which will bring blood flow to the area and promote healing.
Q - I injured my shoulder six weeks ago. Why do I need to apply ice to it now?
A - Ice massage with ice being applied directly to the skin will decrease pain and the inflammatory response that occurs with daily use. Your physical therapist will help you improve your range of motion and strength which will decrease stress on the inflamed soft tissues. Your physical therapist will tell you how and when to apply either heat or ice.
Q - What is the rotator cuff?
A - The rotator cuff refers to a group of 4 muscles and their tendons that collectively act to stabilize the shoulder. The names of these muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis. These muscles play a vital role in shoulder function. A rotator cuff tear refers to an injury to any one of these muscles and/or their tendons. The supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons are the most commonly injured.
Q - My physician wants me to do core exercises. What does the core mean?
A - Core stability is a general term referring to strengthening back and abdominal muscles that control the spine while you are standing and moving.
Q - In which hand do I hold my cane to support an injury to my lower extremity?
A - You use the cane in the opposite hand from the injured extremity.
Q - Do you sell some of the products that are used at the office during my treatment?
A - Yes will do sell a wide variety of products that are not readily available in stores that are used during your treatment. Ask your treating therapist which ones would be most helpful for you to use for your home program.