Physical Therapy (PT) is care that aims to ease pain and help you function, move, and live better. You may need it to:
Improve movement or ability
Prevent or recover from a sports injury
Prevent disability or surgery
Rehab after a stroke, accident, injury, or surgery
Work on balance to prevent a slip or fall
Manage a chronic illness like diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis
Recover after you give birth
Control your bowels or bladder
Adapt to an artificial limb
Learn to use assistive devices like a walker or cane
Get a splint or brace
People of all ages get physical therapy. It can treat a variety of health problems.
What happens on my first visit?
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, 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. 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 need to bring?
Your prescription/referral for physical therapy.
Your insurance card.
Any MRI/X-ray results.
How should I dress?
Wear comfortable/athletic clothing.
How long is my visit?
Approximately 1 hour.
What is your cancellation policy?
In order to provide each patient with the highest quality service, we ask that you call 24 hours in advance if you are unable to keep scheduled appointments.
No shows and Cancelled appointments less than 24 hours will be charged a fee of $25.
What is the difference with a Physical Therapist, Massage Therapist, and Chiropractor?
In reference to massage therapy, a PT can and will often administer massage-like techniques called soft tissue mobilization, but massage therapists cannot administer PT. The PT you receive therefore may include soft tissue mobilization but will include much more education, exercise and the use of other modalities.
Chiropractic care differs quite a bit in the sense that a Chiropractor relies heavily on performing joint manipulations. Chiropractors typically will see a patient for much longer than a physical therapist for continued joint manipulations or “adjustments” whereas a physical therapist will rehab the injury or painful area and then instruct the patient in a Home Exercise Program for continued care. A physical therapist with specialized training can effectively perform many of the physical adjustments that a Chiropractor utilizes.
What would be my financial responsibilities for therapy?
Each insurance policy varies on the amount covered and the patients financial responsibility. As a quick reference one may call the member services on the back of their insurance card and obtain the benefits information for physical therapy services. Our office will always call the day prior to a set appointment and provide the patient with their coverage in regards to amount of visits allowed, co-pay or co-insurance, deductible and out of pocket benefits.
Co-insurance: in indemnity, the monetary amount to be paid by the patient, usually expressed as a percentage of charges.
Co-payment: in managed care, the monetary amount to be paid by the patient, usually expressed in terms of dollars.
Deductible: the portion of medical costs to be paid by the patient before insurance benefits begin, usually expressed in dollars.
Out-of-pocket: money the patient’s pays toward the cost of health care services.
Are there some services that physical therapists provide that are not covered by insurance?
Some physical therapists provide services that may not be covered by insurance plans. Examples of these services include fitness and wellness programs, sports performance enhancement, health education classes, and some prevention programs.Many individuals find these services to be of tremendous value and readily pay out of pocket for them. Your physical therapist can let you know whether these services are covered by your insurance and can give you information about their cost in advance.
Does insurance cover physical therapy services?
Most insurance plans, including Medicare, workers’ compensation, and private insurers, pay for physical therapy services that are medically necessary and that are provided by or under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist. Your physical therapist or your insurance company can tell you whether your insurance covers the recommended services and how much your out of pocket costs will be if there are any.
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