Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to bring with me for my first visit?
Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral (if your doctor has given you one) and your payment information. If your insurance is covering the cost of physical therapy, bring your insurance card. 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.
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.
How long will my treatment be?
Your initial visit will be approximately 45 minutes. After that the visits vary from 30 to 45 minutes, but this can be discussed further with your treating therapist in your initial 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 and progressed at each visit and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations. Your treating therapist will discuss this more with you in your initial visit.
Why should I try physical therapy?
Physical therapists are specially training to treat all types of muscle and joint pain and balance disorders. They are trained to create a customized treatment plan to meet your needs and goals. The treatments are cost effective and often covered by insurance. Also, you may not need a referral to come see us (see do I need to see a doctor before seeing a physical therapist). Physical therapist specialize in movement, joint, and muscle disorders. We are also experts in managing pain while getting you back to the things you enjoy or need to do.
What do physical therapist do?
Physical therapists can assist you in improving your mobility and returning you to your life without pain. Physical therapists offer alternatives to surgery and medication management. Physical therapists undergo extensive education and clinical experiences to obtain their degree. All physical therapists are required to receive a graduate degree from an accredited physical therapist program before completing and passing the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. A license is required to treat patients in the USA. The extensive training they get from their graduate studies allows them the clinical expertise to evaluate, diagnose, treat, and even prevent conditions that limit the bodies ability to move and function in daily activities. More and more physical therapists are graduating with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and physical therapists are known as trusted healthcare professionals who treat a vast variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Also, in many states, including Colorado, you can see a physical therapist directly, without seeing your doctor first. (Reference: Move Forward PT and the APTA)
Can I go to a Physical Therapist without seeing my Doctor first?
There are forty-four states, including Colorado, that are known as "Direct Access states". This means that you can legally go a see a physical therapist without first obtaining a referral or prescription from your doctor. In many cases, your physical therapist will communicate with your family physician that you have come in to physical therapy for treatment. Often, if improvements are not seen within 30 days of your initial examination your physical therapist may discuss contacting your physician at that point.
Who will pay for treatment?
Physical Therapy is covered by most insurances. If you do not know what your physical therapy coverage is, call our receptionist and we can help you understand t your physical therapy coverage.
Is physical therapy painful?
In most cases the goal of physical therapy is to reduce pain. Often we tell our patients that stress, strain, stretching, and muscle fatigue are all normal feelings which need to be communicated to your treating therapist, however severe prolonged pain is not normal and is avoided during your treatment sessions. There are occasions where gaining back knee or shoulder range of motion following a surgical procedure can be uncomfortable, but with clear patient/therapist communication, pain is minimized.
Will I get a massage during my physical therapy session?
Physical therapist use several different techniques and treatment methods. In some cases deep tissue massage is indicated and useful. Massage is used for three main reasons - massage improves circulation, massage will relax and loosen a tight muscle, and massage can help relieve pain. Questions about any treatment can be addressed during your sessions with you treating therapist.
What is the difference between a physical therapist and a massage therapist?
A physical therapist is trained in many body work techniques and has an extensive medical and science background. Our treatment methods incorporate massage exercise, posture training, joint manipulation, movement education, and use of specialized electronic equipment (known as modalities) to assist you with pain relief and tissue healing. If you have been ill, injured or have had surgery, trust physical therapy to move you forward safely.
What is the difference between a physical therapist and a personal trainer?
Personal trainers are excellent at working with a whole body fitness program to get your body in shape, but are not designed to work with an injured body. Physical therapist go through specialized training to first heal your body and build you back up to your normal level before working on a whole body fitness routine. Physical therapists have and extensive medical background. They can progress you safely toward your fitness goals following an injury, illness or surgery.
Who will be seeing me?
In our clinic we have 7 licensed physical therapists and 1 licensed Physical Therapist Assistant all of which are highly trained professionals. We try to keep you with that same therapist as much as possible, but when we are forced to change this for unseen circumstances (i.e. illness or scheduling conflicts) we try to accommodate your treatment as much as possible to keep your treatment plan on target. We also have special support staff designed to keep our clinic running smoothly. These support staff are usually seen when bringing you back to the room or gym and may get you started to help keep us and you on time and diminish wait times as much as possible. We try to run like a smoothly oiled machine, but if you have concerns please let your treating therapist know.