Frequently Asked Physical Therapy Questions
What is Physical Therapy and when is it necessary to see a Physical Therapist?
Physical Therapy is the use of scientific physical procedures used in the treatment of patients with a disability, disease, illness or injury to achieve and maintain functional rehabilitation and to prevent malfunction or deformity. Treatments are designed to minimize residual physical disability, to hasten convalescence, and to contribute to the patient’s comfort and well-being. Physical Therapy is prescribed by physicians for patients with varied orthopedic, neurological, vascular, and respiratory conditions, which may be the result of congenital malfunction; disability acquired through disease or trauma/injury, or inherited dysfunction.
What does a Physical Therapist do?
Among the diagnostic tests used by the Physical Therapist are manual muscle testing, electrical testing, perceptual and sensory testing, and measurement of the range of motion of joints. Functional activity testing is important in ascertaining patients’ capabilities for performing the necessary tasks of caring for themselves. In treating a patient, the Physical Therapist may employ one or more of the following procedures: heat/ice treatments, melted paraffin wax, infrared and ultraviolet lamps, ultrasonic waves that produce heat internally, and the application of electric current to generate heat in body tissues. One of the most important tasks of the Physical Therapist is therapeutic exercise in various forms. It is used to increase strength and endurance, to improve coordination, to improve functional movement for activities of daily living, and to increase and maintain range of motion. Gait training is practiced with the assistance of canes, crutches, walkers, braces, and artificial limbs. Physical Therapy also uses massage, manual therapy, bandaging, strapping, and application and removal of splints and casts. Some physical therapists may further their education in research and manual therapy through advanced degrees and post professional education. Manual therapy is one of the most effective techniques used by physical therapists to restore joint function and reduce pain. This can be performed in the form of soft tissue mobilization, joint manipulation to the extremities and mobilization of the spine. Physical Therapists also instruct patients and their relatives in techniques of exercise and the use of prosthetic devices, such as artificial limbs, and orthotic, or bracing devices. Physical therapists can use their skills in industrial rehabilitation where they can rehabilitate and make ergonomic recommendations to clients on the job site, as well as in the clinic for the purpose of returning clients to previous functional status.
What’s the Therapeutic Rehab Specialists difference?
At Therapeutic Rehab Specialists, we specialize in solutions to clinical and industrial rehab challenges. We work one-on-one with patients to develop individualized treatment plans to best address each patient’s medical situation, we provide the best possible therapeutic treatment choosing from a full range of treatment approaches including manual therapy, neuromuscular re-education, custom taping, heat, cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and exercise. We also work to help educate patients about ways to improve and maintain their capacity to function and to prevent future injury. Our primary aim is to work with our patients to evaluate their injury and to provide them with quality treatment and education to return them to maximal functioning and productive living as quickly as possible.
If you think you, or someone you know, may benefit from our Physical Therapy Programs, contact our office at 1 (813) 876 (TRS-1). We offer free advice and/or assessments for any type of musculoskeletal injury or disorder. Remember, whether injured on the job, at home, during a sporting event or in an auto accident… get treated “the TRS way!”
What should I expect on my first visit?
On your first visit, your physical therapist will perform an evaluation to determine what deficits and/or problems you have that can be addressed in physical therapy. The evaluation involves a thorough history followed by objective testing and measuring from which your physical therapist will form an opinion on your condition and the appropriateness of therapy. A treatment program will be developed aimed at resolving the problems identified as well as to attain the goals set by the physical therapist in conjunction with you and your physician.
What types of treatment may I receive?
The treatment you receive in physical therapy will depend upon what the physical therapist finds in the evaluation. Our treatment programs are functionally oriented with a non-dependent therapeutic approach. We emphasize mobilization, self-treatment, and therapeutic exercise to go right to the structure and resolve the problem. We do not stress “feel good” modalities, such as massage, ultrasound, heat, electrical stimulation, etc., which do little to address the underlying pathology and can cause patient dependence. We do utilize modalities as needed to assist us with anti-inflammatory effects, etc. in the acute phase of injury.
How long will my visit last?
Treatment time will vary according to what the physical therapist finds in the evaluation. There is no specific time limit for physical therapy. Whatever is found to be appropriate during the evaluation will become part of the patient’s program and the program will be updated as appropriate as the patient improves. In general, physical therapy treatments last anywhere from 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour with somewhat longer time being necessary for this first visit because of the evaluation.
How is my progress measured?
Your physical therapist will perform a meticulous evaluation, quantifying and qualifying all the deficits and problems you are presenting with, re-evaluation, and re-measurement to determine progress. You will be re-evaluated on a periodic basis, the frequency of which will depend upon your diagnosis as well as the chronicity of the problem. In general, your therapist will write a weekly progress note to update your physician, and patients are re-evaluated anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. Additionally, the therapist always needs to be aware of follow-up visits with your physician as a re-evaluation will be performed so that the physician can be updated at that time.
How will you communicate with my physician?
The physical therapist will communicate with you physician most commonly by written report. The physical therapist will send a complete written report outlining the findings of their initial evaluation as well as their assessment of the problem and an outline of the general treatment and frequency with which they intend to see you. The physical or therapist will continue to update your physician with written reports each time you are re-evaluated and most specifically prior to your return to the physician. This is why it is so important that you let your therapist know if you have an appointment with your physician. Additionally, the therapist will, as they feel appropriate, contact the physician by phone if they have a specific concern or question. At the end of your treatment the physical therapist will send a follow- up report to your physician with final information as to your status at the time of discharge from physical therapy.
Will I need follow-up or maintenance care?
Our goal at Therapeutic Rehab Specialists is to resolve your problem completely so that you do not require continual follow-up or maintenance care. There are some patients who do require follow-up care or re-assessment on a periodic basis, but that will be discussed with you once you are in physical therapy or at discharge. This is generally not the case.
What if I need to return to physical therapy?
If you have a recurrent problem after your discharge from physical therapy, how/if you will return to physical therapy will depend on a number of factors. It would depend if it was a re-injury of the same specific problem, how long it has been since you were last in physical therapy, how long it’s been since you saw the physician, and many other factors. In general, if you are discharged from physical therapy and feel the need to return, you should contact the physical therapist who treated you. They will review your chart and call back to discuss with you what should be done, depending on the problem you are having.
When is the best time to start physical therapy?
In general starting physical therapy should be done as early as possible. Initiating physical therapy early on will reduce the overall treatment time that you will require by not allowing the problem to become chronic. If you are in pain and/or you are in an acute state, your program will be modified according to your signs and symptoms. What is done for you in physical therapy depends on the clinical stage of your condition, not just the diagnosis. Therefore, your care will be modified according to the signs and symptoms during the acute, subacute, and chronic phases of your problem.
Is it OK to ask my doctor about physical therapy?
Absolutely. If you have a problem that you think can be helped with physical therapy, feel free to give us a call. After discussing with you the specific problem you present with, we can give you a better idea if it is something that is treatable with physical therapy. You can also give your doctor a call. If he is not sure, he is welcome to contact us as well. In today’s healthcare, if you feel physical therapy can be helpful to you, you will need to stress your feelings to the doctor you are seeing. Print a prescription from our website and take it to your Physician.
Will my insurance cover physical therapy?
Because of today’s health care and the wide variety plans available, although most insurance companies do cover physical therapy, what they cover specifically varies greatly. Please review our insurance list on this web site and if you have additional questions regarding your specific insurance give us a call. If we are not a provider for your insurance company we also offer cash discounts.
How do I arrange an appointment?
If your physician gives you a referral to physical therapy, simply call our office for an appointment. Our clinic hours and location are explained on the contact page of this website. Our office staff will get all the necessary information from you and assist you with an appointment
What should I wear?
In general, wear comfortable clothing to physical therapy. If you are presenting with a problem of your cervical spine, upper back or shoulders, the therapist can provide you with a gown as needed to expose these areas for treatment. If you are coming for a lower extremity problem, shorts are important. You can bring whatever you like to wear with you if you need to change here.
What should I bring with me?
For your first visit you will need your insurance card, prescription, and any paperwork that was sent to you that needed to be filled out. If you have any operative reports, MRI or X-ray results, you may bring those as well. Additionally, if you are utilizing any type of brace, splint, or crutches, those should come with you.
What if I have an increase in symptoms?
If you have increased symptoms please call your physical therapist. When you call the office, please be sure you explain to the office staff that you are having an increase in symptoms. The office staff will pull your chart and contact your therapist. They will be able to review the information and will give you a call back that same day. After we discuss the case with you, we will be able to give you guidelines as to what would be appropriate to reduce your symptoms, whether you need to come in our office, or if you should contact or follow-up with your physician. It is best to call us prior to calling your physician as if a change in symptoms has occurred, it is important that we fax the physician a report so that he can be up to date on your care when you see him for a follow- up visit.
Who chooses which physical therapy center I go to?
Often your physician will give you a recommendation or a listing of physical therapists in your area. Sometimes your insurance company will guide you with regard to who is “in network” for your insurance plan. Unless you are covered under workers compensation; the decision as to where you receive your care is totally up to you. If you have a specific request, you need to let your physician or insurance company know. If we are not in network for your insurance company most plans have out of network benefits which will allow you your choice in physical therapy.
What office policies should I be aware of?
We ask that our patients: Give 24 hours notice when possible for cancellations; our voice mail or answering service is on 24 hours a day. Call if you have a question or a concern or if you will be late. We will do our best to fit you in but need to know in advance for consideration of other patients. Be on time. All patients are taken within 5 minutes of their scheduled time. Notify your physical therapist at least one week prior to returning to your physician. The therapist must have this date in order to properly schedule a re-evaluation for you to update your physician on your progress. Schedule appointments in advance and have the proper number of visits scheduled. If you don’t schedule your appointments in advance it will be more difficult to give you the times that you desire.
What is my responsibility in physical therapy?
You are our partner in your recovery. Your physical therapist cannot do it without you! We ask that all patients cooperate by following through with their home exercise programs and instructions as this is extremely important in expediting your recovery.
Why should I choose Therapeutic Rehab Specialists?
Because we demand results! Our therapists at Therapeutic Rehab Specialists are widely regarded as leading experts in physical therapy. Physicians, attorneys and case managers often seek our expertise and regularly send their own office staff and family members to our facility. Therapeutic Rehab Specialists is dedicated to resolving your problems in an environment that is welcoming and relaxed. Patients receive personalized care, not an assembly line atmosphere. If you are still not sure, feel free to give us a call and stop in to speak to one of our