Frequently Asked Questions

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How Long Will Each Treatment Last?

New patient evaluations typically last 60 minutes, Normal treatment sessions typically last 45 to 60 minutes per visit.

How Many Visits Will I Need?

This is highly variable. You may need one visit or you may need months of care. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc. You will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations.

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.

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.

Why Are People Referred To Physical Therapy?

You and others may be referred to physical therapy because of a movement dysfunction associated with pain. Your difficulty with moving part(s) of your body (like bending at the low back or difficulty sleeping on your shoulder, etc.) very likely results in limitations with your daily activities (e.g., difficulty getting out of a chair, an inability to play sports, or trouble with walking, etc.). Physical therapists treat these movement dysfunctions and their associated pains and restore your body's ability to move in a normal manner.

Who Pays For The Treatment?

In most cases, health insurance will cover your treatment. Click on our insurance link above for a summary of insurances we accept and make sure you talk to our receptionist so we can help you clarify your insurance coverage.

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.

Is Physical Therapy Painful?

For many patients, the primary objective for seeking physical therapy is pain relief.  Often, this is frequently accomplished using hands-on techniques, modalities such as electrical stimulation or cold therapy. Movement is also well recognized to provide pain relief. Your physical therapist will guide you as exercises will help aide in pain relief and help to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.

In some cases, physical therapy techniques can be painful.  Your physical therapist will utilize many techniques to help  attain your treatment goals. It is important that you be consistent in reporting the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist so they may adjust your treatment plan for the best possible outcome.

What Types Of Treatments Will I Receive?

There are dozens of different types of treatment interventions. Here is a list of some of the typical treatment interventions:

Active Range of Motion (AROM) - the patient lifts or moves a body part through range of motion against gravity. AROM is usually one of the first modalities prescribed for arthritis.

Active Assistive Range of Motion (AAROM) - therapist-assisted active range of motion. This is usually prescribed for gentle stretching or strengthening for a very weak body part.

Stationary Bicycle - with or without resistance. This is usually prescribed for improving the strength and/or range of motion of the back or lower extremities as well as cardiovascular endurance.

Gait/Treadmill or Walking Training - the analysis of walking problems by visually examining the interaction of the low back and the joints of the thighs, legs, and feet during the various stages of walking, including initial contact, loading response, mid stance, terminal stance, pre swing, mid swing, and terminal swing. Many back, thigh, leg, ankle, and foot problems may be caused by or manifest themselves in subtle gait abnormalities.

Isometrics - muscle contraction without joint movement. This is usually prescribed for strengthening without stressing or damaging the joint (e.g., arthritis, or exercises to be performed in a cast, or right after surgery if recommended by the therapist/doctor).

Isotonics- muscle(s) contracting through the ROM with resistance. This is usually prescribed for strengthening.

Soft Tissue Mobilization - therapeutic massage of body tissue performed with the hands. Soft tissue mobilization may be used for muscle relaxation, to decrease swelling, to decrease scar tissue adhesions, and for pain relief.

Mobilization - hands-on therapeutic procedures intended to increase soft tissue or joint mobility. Mobilization is usually prescribed to increase mobility, delaying progressive stiffness, and to relieve pain. There are many types of mobilization techniques including Maitland, Kaltenborn, Isometric Mobilizations, etc.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) - a system of manually resisted exercises performed in diagonal patterns that mimic functional movements. PNF was initially used in developmentally and neurologically impaired patients but now is used in almost every aspect of neuromuscular retraining from athletes in sports facilities to the very weak in hospitals and nursing homes.

Posture Training - instruction in the correct biomechanical alignment of the body to reduce undue strain on muscles, joints, ligaments, discs, and other soft tissues. There is an ideal posture, but most people do not have ideal posture. Therapists educate patients about the importance of improving posture with daily activities. Stretching and strengthening exercises may be prescribed to facilitate postural improvement and to prevent further disability and future recurrences of problems.

Progressive Resistive Exercises (PRE) - exercises that gradually increase in resistance (weights) and in repetitions. PRE is usually prescribed for reeducation of muscles and strengthening. Weights, rubber bands, and body weight can be used as resistance.

Passive Range of Motion (PROM) - the patient or therapist moves the body part through a range of motion without the use of the muscles that "actively" move the joint(s).

Stretching/Flexibility Exercise - exercise designed to lengthen muscle(s) or soft tissue. Stretching exercises are usually prescribed to improve the flexibility of muscles that have tightened due to disuse or in compensation to pain, spasm or immobilization.

Cryotherapy or Cold Therapy - used to cause vasoconstriction (the blood vessels constrict or decrease their diameter) to reduce the amount of fluid that leaks out of the capillaries into the tissue spaces (swelling) in response to injury of tissue. Ice or cold is used most frequently in acute injuries, but also an effective pain reliever for even the most chronic pain.

Microcurrent Electrical Stimulation (MES)/Cranial Electrical Stimulation(CES) - the application of electrical stimulation to aid in improving to efficiency of nerve transmission of normal signals for both the extremities and also the brain.  MES/CES is used to decrease pain, decrease radiation of pain, swelling and to relieve muscle spasm.

Manual Traction - a gentle hands-on longitudinal/axial pull on the neck or extremities, performed manually by hand of intermittent or continuous nature for relief of neck pain, ease joint pain or to decrease muscle spasm and facilitate unloading of the spine and joints.

Neuromuscular Re-education - a gentle hands-on set of techniques meant to re-train the body in natural movement patterns, restore impaired movement in corrected techniques or re-train the brain-body to feel corrected movements  as they are meant to be practiced to restore functional movement patterns.

Will I Get A Massage At Physical Therapy?

Massage is often a part of your treatment. Rehabilitation specialists and our licensed massage therapists are trained in a variety of techniques that may help with your recovery. Deep tissue techniques may be part of the rehabilitative process. Massage is used for three reasons typically - to facilitate venous return from a swollen area, to relax a tight muscle, or to relieve pain.

What Happens If My Problem Or Pain Returns?

It is not uncommon early on for pain to return. If you have a flare up of your pain please give us a call. We may suggest you come back to see us, return to your doctor, or simply modify your daily activities or exercise routine.

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.

Can I Go Directly To My Physical Therapist? (DIRECT ACCESS)

Louisiana has passed Direct Access for Physical Therapy as of July 2016.  The governor has signed this into law to allow individuals to seek care for their physical therapy concerns directly under the care of a physical therapist.  This is very safe and effective form of early medical care for problems you want to see a therapist quickly to address your concerns.  Insurance companies have began to recognize this in their policy changes and it is best to call your insurance company to ask about direct access, but if you call our office, we often can tell you which companies we have worked with under this new law.

Seeing a physical therapist first under direct access is safe and could save you hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars. 

Can My Therapist Provide Me With A Diagnosis?

In most states, physical therapists cannot make a medical diagnosis. This is something that your medical doctor will provide for you.  Physical therapists can only establish a treatment diagnosis for the purposes of a physical therapy treatment plan.

Physical therapists are important members of your medical team. At this point in time, physicians are typically the health care providers that will provide you with a medical diagnosis.

How Does The Billing Process Work?

Billing for physical therapy services is similar to what happens at your doctor's office. When you are seen for treatment, the following occurs:

1. The physical therapist bills your insurance company, Workers' Comp, or charges you based on Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes.

2. Those codes are transferred to a billing form that is either mailed or electronically communicated to the payer.

3. The payer processes this information and makes payments according to an agreed upon fee schedule.

4. An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is generated and sent to the patient and the physical therapy clinic with a check for payment and a balance due by the patient.

5. The patient is expected to make the payment on the balance if any.

It is important to understand that there are many small steps (beyond the outline provided above) within the process. Exceptions are common to the above example as well. At any time along the way, information may be missing, miscommunicated, or misunderstood. This can delay the payment process. While it is common for the payment process to be completed in 60 days or less, it is not uncommon for the physical therapy clinic to receive payment as long as six months after the treatment date.

What Will I Have To Do After Physical Therapy?

Some patients will need to continue with home exercises or become members of our wellness program. Some may choose to continue with a gym exercise program. Others will complete their rehabilitation and return to normal daily activities. We always seek to develop a custom program for you, so that you can continue your success long after completing your physical therapy.

Is My Therapist Licensed?

Physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are licensed by their respective states.