Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who are experts in the field of kinesiology, movement, exercise, and function. Physical therapists evaluate movement patterns, identify the cause of pain, and provide various treatment techniques to reduce that pain and improve or restore mobility. They also teach how to prevent recurrences or manage a condition so long term health benefits may be achieved.
In addition, physical therapists will work with individuals to prevent injury or loss of mobility before it occurs by developing fitness and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
What should I bring to my first visit?
- Prescription from physician
- Insurance information (we will need a copy of your card)
- Valid ID
- Medication List
- Completed patient information form (download here). If you are unable to print and complete a form, one will be provided for you in the clinic.
- Any other beneficial additional health information (Medication list, imaging reports, operation report, work comp information, etc.)
What can I expect my first visit?
Clients are checked in at the front office to make sure paperwork and insurance information is correct and complete. If your insurance is Medicare, you may have some additional forms to complete, so please come 15-20 minutes early.
The physical therapist will first perform a subjective evaluation. They will ask a series of questions about the reason for seeking care. This includes but is not limited to questions about medical history, pain, functional limitations and goals for treatment.
Next the therapist will perform an objective evaluation. This includes but is not limited to assessing range of motion, muscle testing, gait evaluation, posture evaluation, movement evaluation, palpation, neurological screening and special tests.
From the evaluation, the therapist will perform an assessment on how the problem can best be treated. A collaborative plan will be developed between the therapist and the patient based on specific impairments found in the individual.
Finally, treatment may be given. Because a thorough evaluation is crucial to the most effective treatment, this is prioritized in the first visit. However, patients may receive a home exercise program, manual therapy, modalities, therapeutic exercise, or other various treatments.
What do I wear to physical therapy?
Loose-fitting comfortable clothing should be worn. It is important that the affected area can be exposed so the therapist can evaluate that area. This may mean wearing shorts if the problem is a knee, or a tank top for a shoulder problem. Comfortable shoes are also encouraged as treatment often includes physical activity.
How long does my physical therapy session last?
The first therapy session lasts about 60 minutes. Subsequent visits are anywhere from 30-90 minutes with the average being around 60 minutes.
How many sessions will I have?
Each condition is different. Therefore, the number of visits is highly variable depending on the diagnosis, medical history, severity of impairments, etc. Some only need one visit, whereas others require months of treatment. We will work with the patient and referring doctor to determine a plan that works best for each individual.
Is physical therapy painful?
One of the main goals of therapy is to relieve pain. However, during treatment pain levels may fluctuate as new mobility and strength is gained. This is a normal response to treatment. Good communication between therapist and patient helps minimize discomfort.
Do I need a referral?
California law allows patients to receive treatment without a physician referral for 45 days or 12 visits. However, many insurance companies still require a physician prescription. It is best to call us so we can check what your insurance requires before starting treatment. Patients can also choose cash pay, which would negate the requirements of insurance companies.
Can I choose where I receive therapy?
In most cases, the patient has the right to choose where they receive therapy. To find out if we work with your insurance, please contact us.
How much does it cost?
Most health insurance companies cover physical therapy. How much it costs depends upon the plan you have. We accept most PPO’s, Medicare, Tricare, and Worker’s Comp claims. Please call to see if we accept your insurance.