Frequently Asked Questions
At South Florida Physical Therapy we take pride in making your experience a positive and efficient one from start to finish. We know that you have lots of questions regarding your physical therapy, and we want to make sure that your questions are answered prior to your first visit. The following list should answer most of the basics, but please feel free to contact us with any additional questions or assistance you may need.
Why are people referred to physical therapy?
People may be referred to physical therapy for two basic reasons; either they are recovering from surgery, an accident, a debilitating injury, or because they have chronic pain!
Post operative patients or post injury patients need rehabilitation of their joints and muscle/soft tissue systems. Their physical machines aren’t moving right, they’re not working right. Physical therapists treat these movement dysfunctions and their associated pains to restore your body’s ability to move in a normal, pain free manner.
Chronic pain is best understood by looking at the basic origin of pain. Pain occurs when tissue is damaged. The body’s response to tissue damage is inflammation. Inflammation excites pain receptors and the brain experiences pain. The basic rule with damaged tissue is that it heals. People with chronic pain may have some ongoing damage to their tissues, usually through faulty postures or faulty movement patterns. Physical therapists have specialized knowledge that allows them to evaluate the human machine to determine why tissue is not healing, and to develop a plan of care that will alleviate stresses to damaged tissue so that it can heal.
What should I expect with physical therapy?
STEP 1: EXAMINATION AND ASSESSMENT The key to successful rehabilitation and recovery is a complete evaluation and assessment. The physical therapist’s evaluation will include the following:
- Assessment of which muscles are lacking strength.
- Testing of joint biomechanics for dysfunction.
- Breakdown of your injury or symptoms step by step.
- Static (posture) and dynamic (movement and gait) evaluation to determine where the physical machine is functioning outside of “normal” parameters
STEP 2: HANDS ON MANUAL THERAPY
A Physical Therapist’s greatest asset is their hands.
A Physical Therapist’s hands can mobilize dysfunctional tissue and joints. This will assist you in a speedier, more complete recovery. Through the use of manual therapy, the physical therapist is able to provide pressure and resistance when and where it is needed most to increase joint range of motion and tissue mobility.
STEP 3: MUSCLE RE-EDUCATION
Once the areas that require the most help have been identified, the therapist will design a personalized comprehensive exercise regime.
The goal of an exercise program is to re-educate and restore the strength and function of the muscles involved.
The exercise program will be specific to the muscles which support and protect your injury or dysfunction.
STEP 4: MAINTENANCE AND PREVENTION
The key to a complete and successful restoration of function is learning how to prevent an injury or dysfunction from recurring.
How long will I need physical therapy?
This is not an easy question to answer. You may need one visit or you may need several months of treatment depending upon your condition. Your physical therapist and your doctor will decide how long you will be treated. Usually, by the second treatment, your physical therapist can give a good estimate of how many visits it will take to overcome your problem.
Who will see me?
We work as a team. You will be evaluated by your physical therapist (PT) and each visit you will be seen for up to 30 minutes by that therapist. You will also be seen by a licensed physical therapist assistant (PTA), primarily for exercises prescribed by your therapist.
How long is a treatment session?
Your total treatment time is about 60 minutes, sometimes longer or shorter based on your individual needs. Remember, we work as a team; therapist, assistant, and you, the patient. Your therapist is responsible for determining those needs based on your evaluation and plan of care.
Who pays for the treatment?
In most cases, health insurance will cover your treatment. Click here for a summary of insurances we accept and make sure you talk to our office manager to help you clarify your insurance coverage.
What is a co-pay?
Some insurance contracts require you to pay a certain amount each visit. This amount is called a co-pay. Co-pay amounts can vary depending on your individual policy. Co-pays are expected to be paid on your arrival each visit.
What is a deductible?
The deductible is the amount you are required to pay before your insurance begins payment. In most cases, when you see practitioners that are “in network”, there is no deductible. Deductibles vary depending on your individual policy. You should check with your insurance company to determine your individual plan coverage. If you have a deductible and have not met it, payment is expected each visit until your deductible is met.
What is co-insurance?
Some policies do not have a co-pay, but they may have a co-insurance. This is the percentage that your individual policy requires you to pay of the allowed, or contracted, amount. We will bill you for your co-insurance amount once we determine what your carrier allows per visit.
How do I pay for my co-pay, co-insurance or deductible?
We accept all Major Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cash and/or Personal Checks.
Do I need a referral for therapy?
That is a loaded question. Simply put, if you want your insurance company to consider paying for the therapy the answer is YES. When you are examined by a physician and that physician determines that you can benefit from physical therapy they write a referral, or prescription for therapy. You may also need a referral from your primary care physician, often referred to as your PCP. Please check with your carrier to determine if you need a referral from your PCP. You can be evaluated by us without a referral, but you will be responsible for the cost of the evaluation. After your examination you will need to see a physician before we can see you again.
What do I need to bring to my first appointment?
Please bring your insurance card/information, drivers license, the doctors referral or prescription, your planner or calendar, and payment for your co-pay or deductible. It would be helpful if you would download the intake forms found on this site so that you can have them filled out ahead of time. They can be time consuming, but they are necessary.
What do I wear to therapy?
Please wear comfortable clothing that allows us to expose the body part we are examining. It is best if you bring shorts if we are looking at your back or any joint below the back.
Will it hurt?
We will do everything we can to make your sessions with us pain free. The old adage “no pain, no gain” is ridiculous.
Will I have to do anything at home?
Absolutely!!! Our primary job is to teach you what you need to do at home to manage your condition or to solve your problem. Exercise works!!! Your home program will be individualized and will be based on your initial examination.