Physical Therapy FAQ


Q: How can a PT help me?

A: A physical therapist can help you recover your mobility and strength following an injury, surgery or illness. A physical therapist may be able to help you avoid surgery or reduce the need for pain medications.

Q: What kind of education do physical therapists have?

A: The minimum educational requirement now is a master’s degree in the field. The profession is transitioning, however; eventually, the minimum educational requirement will be Doctor of Physical Therapy. This degree does not mean therapists are medical doctors.

Q: Will my insurance cover physical therapy services?

A: In many cases, yes. Before your first session, our rehab department office staff will verify coverage and get information about any limitations and co-pays that may apply. It is always a good idea for you to contact your insurance carrier also, to research those questions independently.

Q: Can I choose where to go for my therapy?

A: Yes. A physical therapy referral is similar to a prescription for a medication. Just as you can choose your pharmacy, you can choose your physical therapist.

Q: Is physical therapy painful?

A: Sometimes, exercising an injured part can be painful, but your therapist will closely monitor your pain level and will adjust your treatment when needed to minimize pain. Often, therapy isn’t painful at all – in fact, many patients feel better at the end of each session. Most importantly, the therapist will help you distinguish between discomfort that is normal for your situation and pain that may indicate a problem that should be addressed.

Q: What will I be doing in physical therapy?

A: The components of your program will be determined by your initial status, your goals, and the most effective route from one to the other. Each program is completely individual and will be designed in consultation with you. Possibilities include a huge variety of exercise, gait training, hands-on treatment such as massage or joint mobilizations and modalities such as ice packs and electrical stimulation.

Q: How will my doctor know how I am doing in physical therapy?

A: Your physical therapist will communicate with your physician regularly.

Q: How often will I have to come?

A: First and foremost, you don’t have to come at all – attendance is strictly for your benefit and is completely voluntary! Once you have decided to consult a physical therapist, frequency and duration will be mutually agreed upon, based on factors including physician recommendations, your personal preferences, and the rate at which you make progress toward your therapy goals.

Q: How long do I have to come to physical therapy?

A: The duration of a course of therapy generally is determined by consultation between your therapist, the referring physician and you. Factors taken into consideration include your progress, your participation in the home exercise program recommended by the therapist, funding limitations and your personal preference. You can always stop any time, although your outcome may not be as good if you don’t complete your program.

Q: How do I manage my problem after PT is done?

A: Part of your therapy will be education on this topic. Most often, you will be given exercises to continue after your discharge. There may also be management techniques, such as using ice or heat.