What to Expect from Physical Therapy
How does physical therapy work? Do I need a doctor’s referral?
Physical therapy is often recommended by doctors to assist patients with pain, weakness, and limited range of motion. While a referral is not always required to see a physical therapist, patients are typically referred to therapy by their primary care doctor or orthopedic specialist.
Will my insurance cover physical therapy?
In most cases, insurance companies will cover physical therapy. However, they may require a prescription from a health care provider.
Does physical therapy hurt?
Physical therapy CAN be painful or uncomfortable since you are working to increase limited range of motion or strengthen weakened muscles that have been avoided or neglected. However, the benefits of physical therapy outweigh its challenges and can lead you to a better quality of life.
What’s the difference between good pain and bad pain?
Generally, this will depend on your diagnosis. There may be certain conditions, such as sciatica, where you may want to avoid a certain level of pain. There are other injuries, such as frozen shoulder, in which case you may be encouraged to push through that line of pain. Be sure to speak with your therapist about what you should expect based on your specific diagnosis—and don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel the pain is too much.
What will I do in physical therapy?
The goal of PT is to improve your overall ability to function. This involves a wide range of activities and exercises that can be used to help improve your range of motion, muscle strength, balance, and gait. These activities may include the use of stability balls, resistance bands, exercise machines, stimulation devices, etc.
How long does physical therapy normally last?
An average therapy session usually lasts about an hour.
What should I wear to physical therapy?
We recommend comfortable clothing and footwear, as if you were going for a good walk around the neighborhood or park.
Are there home exercises and how often should I do them?
Your physical therapist will typically give you a home exercise program with specific instructions. Do your exercises regularly. The more often you do them, the faster you’ll reach your goal.
Keep in mind, everyone’s situation is different. What works for some, may not work for others. Your condition, medical history, and many more factors will play a role in building a successful therapy program. Be sure to talk with your physical therapist about what is best for YOUR body!