Below are some frequently asked questions regarding physical therapy and what you can expect during your visit. If you do not see your question below, please call us at (903) 600-6717 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have prior to your appointment.

 

What happens during my first visit?

During your first visit you can expect the following:

  • Arrive at your appointment a few minutes early to complete paperwork.

  • You will provide us with your referral for physical therapy if you have one. If you don't have a referral, let us know when you schedule your first visit with us (note - a referral is not always needed).

  • We will copy your insurance card and ID.

  • You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.

  • The therapist will discuss the following:

    1. Your medical history.

    2. Your current problems/complaints.

    3. Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.

    4. How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.

    5. Your goals with physical therapy.

    6. Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.

  • The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:

    1. 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.

    2. Range of Motion (ROM) - the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. Special Tests - the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.

    6. 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 with me?

Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor) and your payment information. If your insurance is covering the cost of physical therapy, bring your insurance card. If you are out of network with the insurances we accept, we do offer competitive package pricing for self pay cash services. In many cases, some patients choose to pay cash if their deductible is high or visits are limited. If you are interested in our cash pay packages, please speak to one of the staff when you contact us. If you are covered by Workers' Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager's contact information. If you are covered by auto insurance or an attorney lien, make sure you bring this information.

How should I dress?

You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice, and for low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination.

How long will each treatment last?

Your treatment plan will be created and discussed with you at your first visit. Treatment times will vary based on your individual specific needs. Times can vary anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

Why is physical therapy a good choice?

More than half of all Americans are suffering from pain. Whether it is a recent episode or chronic, an ABC News/Stanford study revealed that pain in America is a serious problem. However, many do not even know that physical therapists are well equipped to not only treat pain but also its source.

Physical therapists are experts at treating movement and neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Pain often accompanies a movement disorder, and physical therapists can help correct the disorder and relieve the pain. Many Americans may suffer from debilitating dizziness, balance problems, or vertigo. At Pineywoods Physical Therapy, the physical therapists will assist in determining the root cause of deficits and help improve your movement and function. If you are experiencing dizziness, have balance issues, have been diagnosed with a neurological disorder, or have sustained a concussion, PT is a great choice for you!

What do physical therapists do?

You have probably heard of the profession of physical therapy. Maybe you have had a conversation with a friend about how physical therapy helped get rid of his or her back pain, or you might know someone who needed physical therapy after an injury. You might even have been treated by a physical therapist yourself. But have you ever wondered about physical therapists--who they are and what they do? Many people are familiar with physical therapists' work helping patients with orthopedic problems, such as low back pain or knee surgeries, to reduce pain and regain function. Others may be aware of the treatment that physical therapists provide to assist patients recovering from a stroke (e.g., assisting them with recovering use of their limbs and walking again).

The ability to maintain an upright posture and to move your arms and legs to perform all sorts of tasks and activities is an important component of your health. Most of us can learn to live with the various medical conditions that we may develop, but only if we are able to continue at our jobs, take care of our families, and enjoy important occasions with family and friends. All of these activities require the ability to move without difficulty or pain.

Because physical therapists are experts in movement and function, they do not confine their talents to treating people who are ill. A large part of a physical therapist's program is directed at preventing injury, loss of movement, and even surgery. Physical therapists work as consultants in industrial settings to improve the design of the workplace and reduce the risk of workers overusing certain muscles or developing low back pain. They also provide services to athletes at all levels to screen for potential problems and institute preventive exercise programs. With the boom in the golf and fitness industries, a number of physical therapists are engaged in consulting with recreational golfers and fitness clubs to develop workouts that are safe and effective, especially for people who already know that they have a problem with their joints or their backs.

The cornerstones of physical therapy treatment are therapeutic exercise and functional training. In addition to "hands-on" care, physical therapists also educate patients to take care of themselves and to perform certain exercises on their own. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may also "mobilize" a joint (that is, perform certain types of movements at the end of your range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists also use methods such as ultrasound (which uses high frequency waves to produce heat), hot packs, and ice. Although other kinds of practitioners will offer some of these treatments as "physical therapy," it's important for you to know that physical therapy can only be provided by qualified physical therapists or by physical therapist assistants, who must complete a 2-year education program and who work only under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.

Most forms of physical therapy treatment are covered by your insurance, but the coverage will vary with each plan. Most states do not legally require patients to see their physicians before seeing a physical therapist. Most of the time all you have to do is ask your doctor if physical therapy is right for you.

Who will see me?

You will be evaluated by one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists and he/she will also treat you during subsequent visits. Unlike some clinics, where you see someone different each visit, we feel it is very important to develop a one-on-one relationship with you to maintain continuity of care. Since only one physical therapist knows your problems best, he/she is the one that will be working closely with you to speed your recovery.

Can I go to any physical therapy clinic?

In most cases, you have the right to choose any physical therapy clinic. Our practice is a provider for many different insurance plans. The best thing to do is give us a call and we will attempt to answer all of your questions.

How do I choose a physical therapy clinic?

These are some things you may consider when seeking a physical therapy clinic:

  • The therapist should be licensed in the state

  • The first visit should include a thorough medical history and physical examination before any treatment is rendered

  • The patient goals should be discussed in detail during the first visit

  • Care should include a variety of techniques which might include hands-on techniques, soft tissue work, therapeutic exercises and in some cases heat, cold, electrical stimulation or ultrasound.

  • Do they have a service that can address your problem?

  • Do they take your insurance or are they willing to work with you if they are not a preferred provider?

  • They should be conveniently located. Since sitting and driving often aggravate orthopedic problems, there should be a very good reason for you to drive a long distance for rehabilitation

  • What are the hours of operation?

  • Can they provide satisfaction survey results?

  • The therapist should provide the treatment

  • Can you briefly interview the therapist before the first visit?

  • Ask your family and friends who they would recommend

Can I go directly to my physical therapist?

All fifty states have some form of direct access. In Texas, we can currently evaluate and treat you for 2 weeks before needing a physician's referral. In most cases, if you are not making significant improvement within 30 days, the therapist will refer you to/back to your physician.

Seeing a physical therapist first is safe and could save you hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars. Click here to learn more.