Frequently Asked Questions
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy (PT) is treatment for conditions that affect your mobility that does not involve surgery or medications. Specific physical therapy treatments vary based on the type of condition being treated, but PT for conditions of the bones, joints, and muscles most often involves exercise and education. Quite often PT will also include various hands-on techniques to affect pain and mobility. On occasion, we also use modalities such as heat, cold, or electrical stimulation as needed.
How can physical therapists help?
Physical therapists are experts in identifying and treating conditions that affect your ability to move and function in the way you want. For the last 10 years most new physical therapists have been trained at a doctoral level to apply best practice and the best available evidence to help you reach your functional goals. They work in many settings: schools, sports, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospice care, and outpatient clinics. They treat people across the lifespan from infants to the elderly. They treat in many different areas: orthopedics, neurological rehab, wound care, cardiopulmonary rehab, geriatrics, woman’s health, and pediatrics. Any time someone is experiencing difficulty moving or recovering from a health setback there is a physical therapist capable of getting them back to full function. If you’ve never had physical therapy before then you may be in for a surprise, but we think it will be a pleasant one.
Do I need a prescription or referral for physical therapy?
As in nearly all states, here in New York you have direct access to a physical therapist. That means you can come in and be evaluated and treated without a doctor’s prescription or referral. However, if treatment extends beyond 30 days or 10 visits—whichever comes first—you will need a referral for physical therapy. You can get a referral from a physician, physician assistant, dentist, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner licensed to treat in New York. One caveat: some insurance plans require a referral for physical therapy before treatment can begin. Your specific plan should have the details, but if you’re unsure then call your insurance provider and ask if you need a referral before beginning outpatient physical therapy.
Do you work with my insurance?
Do I need to fill out any paperwork before my first visit?
Unfortunately, yes. But to minimize the time sitting in our waiting room, we have made the forms available for you here. You may also download and print the forms. If you prefer to fill them out at our office please arrive at least 15 minutes early for your first visit. This will allow optimal time and attention to your condition – and not the paperwork.
How long will it take?
Each visit is 45 minutes one-on-one with the physical therapist and whatever time you need afterward to complete any prescribed therapeutic exercises. We recommend that you arrive 10 minutes early for your initial consultation. For subsequent visits we need you to be changed and ready at your appointed time. We understand the value of your time, and do our best to keep on schedule. Depending on your condition, it may be advantageous for you to come early for a light aerobic workout or stretching. Your therapist will determine any pre-treatment requirements.
What should I bring?
Please bring the following:
- Your prescription and referral
- Your insurance card and ID
- Any other diagnostic reports you have related to your condition, such MRI or x-ray results
- A list of any prescribed medications you are taking
- Your intake forms, if you didn't fill them out online
- Please bring comfortable clothing that allows unobstructed access to the affected body region. Ladies, if your condition involves your neck, upper back, or arm then please wear a tank top. Gentlemen, you may remove your shirt if you prefer. For any lower body condition, we prefer if you have shorts and athletic shoes. What is required for subsequent visits will be discussed during your initial visit. We do have private changing rooms. We also have private treatment rooms available upon request.
I've never had physical therapy before. What can I expect?
You can expect to sit down with the physical therapist in the treatment area and discuss the history of your condition. The PT will ask lots of questions to try to understand your condition better so that they can decide what they want to examine and what things to investigate. Following the history-taking portion, the PT will conduct an examination that will usually involve you doing certain movements or the PT moving you in particular ways. The PT wants to see what causes your pain and what makes it better. He also wants to see how your movement is affected by your condition. This will help the PT to start devising a plan to address your unique needs.
Based on the findings of the examination, the PT will make a diagnosis, which may be slightly different than the one you received from your physician. This is not because we disagree with your physician's diagnosis, but rather medical diagnoses often identify a suspected pain-generating structure, while physical therapy diagnoses identify the movement dysfunction as a result of the pain-generating structure. The PT will then begin a treatment, which may be any combination of education, hands-on therapy, therapeutic exercise, or modalities such as electrical stimulation. You will probably be given a home exercise program with exercises you will be expected to do regularly. Physical therapy is often a several-week process. You can expect to have anywhere from four to 20 or more treatments, depending on your condition. Your physical therapist should give you an idea of how long full recovery will take. Please ask any questions you may have during your appointment. We consider ourselves educators about the human body. We believe that the better you understand your condition, the better you will be at addressing it.
Will it hurt?
Most people that come to see us are already in pain so we don’t intend to cause you more. Wherever possible we will make our assessments and treatments pain-free. That said, some things that we do that are therapeutic may cause you some discomfort. We will try to warn you of this and you are always in control if you want to stop. If you don’t want to do something we will respect that.
Also, an increase in pain or discomfort after treatment is not unusual, and this should resolve fairly quickly. Often this just has to do with working muscles in ways to which they are unaccustomed. However, we will do our best to avoid causing flare-ups.
How often will I need treatment?
Your physical therapist will discuss this with you based on your condition and your referring physician's instructions. In general, physical therapy is most effective when done 2-3 times a week early on and then less frequently as you improve.
What is your cancellation policy?
We understand that things in your busy schedule can change, which is why we try to accommodate you if you need to come in at a different time. We would prefer to reschedule you for a time later in the day or week, but if you need to cancel we ask that you give us at least 24 hours notice. If you fail to give 24 hour notice, we reserve the right to charge you a $50 cancellation fee, which is not covered by insurance. We respect your time and ask that you respect ours, as well.
I don't want to use insurance. Can I just pay cash?
You are welcome to pay cash if you like. We have competitive prices and offer packages for a discounted rate. We offer a payment plan, which many of our cash clients take advantage of. To put your mind at ease we offer a 100% money back guarantee. If you feel like we didn't do our very best to make you happy then we'll refund all that you've paid. If you're interested just call.