Welcome to our patient FAQ section, this is a great opportunity for us to answer some of the common questions you and other patients may have before your first visit. If you have a question that requires more immediate attention before your first visit please give us a call at 610-789-9887.
Your first visit is the initial evaluation and should take approximately one hour. Your therapist will first review your past medical history and the history of you present condition. Then the physical examination will begin. Your therapist will perform tests relevant to your condition. These tests can include measurements of strength, joint range of motion, swelling, etc. Throughout the evaluation we respect your pain and progress as tolerated. We then perform our hands on assessment of your specific joint and soft tissue mobility. We will compare sides and different areas to assess which joints are restricted or unstable and are likely causing your symptoms. We assess what symptoms can be improved, changed, or compensated for with therapy. We will discuss your treatment goals and options. The treatment plan will be developed with your goals in mind.
The treatment provided with physical therapy will be depending upon the results of your evaluation and the nature of your symptoms. If needed we may utilize modalities such as moist heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ice, etc. You will typically begin a session with "warming up" your muscles and joints using exercise equipment in a pain free fashion. We continuously re-assess you during treatment and make adjustments so that as much of your routine is pain-free as possible. We will manually mobilize restricted joints and tissues to help improve movement. Your exercise program will be specific to your weaknesses and diagnosis. As you progress, the plan is altered to fully meet your goals.
Your therapist will perform a thorough evaluation, quantifying and qualifying all the deficits and problems you present with and will re-evaluate periodically to determine progress. We simply repeat the measurements from the evaluation and compare the outcomes to determine progress. You will be re-evaluated approximately monthly, or prior to your next doctor's appointment. Therefore, the therapist always needs to be aware of follow-up visits with your physician so we can communicate your progress to your doctor prior to the appointment.
The physical therapist will communicate with your 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 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.
Our goal at this physical therapy facility is to resolve your problem completely so that you don't require continual follow-up or maintenance care. It is important however to ensure that you continue to include the important aspects of therapy in lifestyle changes to minimize the risk of a return of the original problem. 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.
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.
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Absolutely, your doctor can give you good advice on what physical therapy can do for your injuries. If you or your physician has any questions as to what physical therapy can add to your treatment program, please call our office and we can discuss typical treatment and effectiveness of such treatment with you or your physician. In today’s healthcare, if you feel physical therapy can be helpful to you, you will need to stress your feelings to the doctor that you are seeing.
In general, the earlier you start physical therapy, the quicker your symptoms will resolve. We start treatment according to the stage of recovery that you are in and the earlier we assess your injuries, the earlier we can promote the optimal healing conditions needed not to allow healing to slow and for you to entire the chronic stage. For most injuries, we also provide education in how the problem seems to have occurred and give you advice in how to best help yourself between therapy appointments also.
Because of today’s health care and the wide variety of plans available, you should contact your insurance company to find out how they cover physical therapy. You will also need to determine if your insurance plan capitates your physical therapy care to a certain practitioner and/or who are the practitioners in your particular plan. We participate with most of the major insurance companies in the area and if you have any further questions after looking into your particular plan, please call our office or look at the page named Insurance.
Simply call our office to arrange a time and day that fits into your schedule. Our office hours and location are listed on our website. Our office staff will ask you for your necessary information and can clarify directions for you.
In general, wear comfortable clothing to physical therapy. If you are presenting with a problem in 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.
For your first visit you will need to bring in your insurance card so we may verify your coverage and co-pay. Pennsylvania law allows a therapist to evaluate and treat you for 30 days without a doctors order, so we no longer require a prescription at the first visit, but if you have one please bring it with you. Some insurances, however, do require a physician prescription for reimbursement of physical therapy and we will inform you if that is necessary when we verify your insurance. If you have any operative reports, MRI or X-ray results, you may bring those as well, but they are not necessary. Additionally, if you are utilizing any type of brace, splint, or crutches, those should come with you. If you are taking several prescription medications, we would like you to bring in a written list of medicines.
Occasionally the initial physical therapy evaluation could cause you some additional discomfort as a result of gathering information about your musculoskeletal disorder/injury. Part of the evaluation process involves movement assessment. Generally any additional discomfort created would be of short duration. Our goal is to decrease or eliminate your pain as rapidly as possible. If you should have a significant increase in pain or an abnormal response, we urge you to call the office and speak with your therapist for advice on what would be appropriate to do. It is best to contact us prior to calling the physician.
Ultimately, you choose where to have physical therapy. You may receive recommendations from your physician, insurance company, friends, co workers or family. Sometimes your insurance company has preselected where you can have therapy “in network”. If we are not in network and you are considering Pain Relief and Physical Therapy for services, come in and visit. We welcome potential first time patients to visit us and ask questions about treatment, billing, scheduling and our outstanding therapist to patient ratio.
In physical therapy, the goals should be to resolve your problem, not just temporarily relieve it. Although medication and other forms of treatment can be helpful in relieving symptoms, physical therapy produces a long term result. The physician may opt to utilize medication in conjunction with physical therapy depending on your diagnosis.
We ask that our patients:
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.
It is simple, our expertise. We are widely regarded as a leading expert in physical therapy. Physicians regularly send their own office staff and family members to our facility. We are 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 therapists.