You've never been to physical therapy before. Some questions you may have:
My physician is referring me to physical therapy. Why should I choose Flex Physical Therapy?
We have wonderful relationships with physicians in the tri-state area due to our thoughtful approach to providing physical therapy and the results we yield. Flex Physical Therapy is unique because each patient receives a customized treatment plan based on their specific needs and goals, provided by a Doctor of Physical Therapy in a one on one environment. We assess and consider the entire body for maximum function. Our aim is to support you in life long healing and wellness so that the benefits of physical therapy carry on long after treatment.
Do I need a prescription from my physician to receive physical therapy?
In New York State, you are entitled to Direct Access which means you can start physical therapy without a prescription. While you do not need a prescription to begin receiving physical therapy, one will often be required within 30 days of starting care. We can help facilitate this. Please call our office with any questions.
What happens during my first visit?
During your first visit you can expect the following:
- Please arrive 10 minutes early to complete paperwork.
- You will provide us with your prescription for physical therapy.
- We will copy your insurance card.
- You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.
- The therapist will discuss the following:
- Your medical history.
- Your current problems/complaints.
- Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
- How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
- Your goals with physical therapy.
- Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.
- The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:
- 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.
- Range of Motion (ROM) - the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
- 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.
- 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.
- Special Tests - the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.
- 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 physician.
What do I need to bring with me?
Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your physician) and your payment information. If your insurance is covering the cost of physical therapy, bring your insurance card. 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 is a treatment session?
Treatment sessions typically last 30 to 60 minutes per visit.
How many visits will I need?
This is highly variable. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc. You will be re-evaluated on a regular basis.
Is physical therapy painful?
For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on techniques, modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy. Movement often provides pain relief as well. Your physical therapist will provide you with the appropriate exercises not only for pain relief but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.
In some cases, physical therapy techniques can be painful. For example, recovering knee range of motion after total knee replacement or shoulder range of motion after shoulder surgery may be painful. Your physical therapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize your treatment goals. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan.
Will my physician be updated on my progress?
Yes, we pride ourselves on our excellent communication with physicians and consider them an important collaborator. We routinely send notes on your progress to your physician, and when necessary, we call to discuss your care.