39 Most Common Questions About Physical Therapy Answered Truthfully

Physical therapy is going mainstream these days, all because it provides quick results, and doesn’t have any side effects.

In spite of the growing popularity, there is a significant amount of noise surrounding the subject.

That’s why we thought of clearing the air today.

In this article, we will be sharing some of the common questions about physical therapy – no clutter, only truth!

Let’s get started.
1. What Insurances Do You Take?

Because we are a specialty clinic and provide cutting-edge treatments and address the root cause of your pain, stiffness or injury, we currently only accept a handful of insurance plans. Otherwise, everything else is applied toward your insurance deductible.

This is GREAT because we can start your treatment right away and don’t have to rely on your insurance company telling us how to treat you.

What this means to YOU is that you can get the care you need and deserve and save time, money, and effort because you will get better faster.

You only have one body, would you let anyone touch it?

That is the Back In Motion difference as you'll be with an EXPERT and not a generalist every appointment.

2. Why shouldn’t I just go through the local hospital system versus you? After all, they are bigger.
The truth of the matter is this: the best physical therapists usually work in private practices because they can deliver individualized care specific to YOU, the patient. In most hospitals and larger healthcare facilities, many patients get the same exercise and treatments, regardless of their condition.

This results in more visits (20 to 30 or more) with higher co-pays, which can average about $60 per visit. Alternatively, you could see an EXPERT physical therapist and be done with as little as 10 visits.

As hospital systems continue to morph into behemoth one-stop healthcare entities, they tend to lose individualized focus as they train their eyes on the bottom line – and quality of care and individual patient attention suffers as a result. As a small private practice, we MUST get patients better or we go out of business.

3. Do I need a referral from my GP or Physician?

No. Just call and schedule your appointment! In the state of Florida, physician referrals are not required for Physical Therapy services.

4. How long does it usually take patients to start to feel better?

Most patients will start to feel better in as little as two weeks. Of course, all patients are different. While some individuals will feel immediate relief after just one or two treatment sessions, others may take longer.

As a general rule, the longer your condition has been present, or the more severe your condition is, the longer it may take for you to feel the benefits of therapy.

5. What exactly is Physical Therapy?

According to Dr. Google, physical therapy is, “the treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery.”

According to your EXPERT physical therapists, Physical Therapy is a proven strategy for first easing the worries and concerns of people suffering from muscle, nerve, and joint (bone) issues which prevents them from staying active, living pain-free, enjoying hobbies such as golf and long walks with their spouse, or for athletes recovering from injury.

The common symptoms and pains that most patients have are:

  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Difficulty bending, squatting, lifting, twisting, or walking
  • Living a lifestyle dictated by and in accommodation to their pains
  • Muscle weakness and tightness
  • Pain during active activities, exercising
  • Pain during or due to sports and athletic injuries

6.What happens if I am not happy with your service?

Although 95% of our patients get back in motion, some may not due to an array of issues such as not following the plan of care properly, not following recommendations or doing exercises at home, or life gets in the way. Regardless of the issue, we want you to be and feel 100% confident and happy with our treatments.

7. What should I wear to my appointments?

You should try to wear clothing that you can move around in; as if you were going for a walk on the beach or to exercise. Typically, most patients will bring a pair of shorts and shoes to change into but we also have suitable exercise attire at the clinic for those times our patients forget their therapy gear.

8. What if I don’t want to make another appointment after coming to see you for my first visit?

You can gladly walk out of our clinic with no hard feelings or hassles. Personally, I have never had a patient who declined to schedule another appointment after learning what is causing their aches and pains. By the same token, if a patient is not a good candidate for my services, I tell them upfront and help direct them to the appropriate professional.

9. I am nervous and skeptical that physical therapy can help me. What are the chances it will help me and my situation?

If your problem consists of aches and pains in the following areas of the body, then physical therapy is highly likely to be beneficial to you:

  • Back
  • Neck and shoulder
  • Hip and knee
  • Foot and ankle
  • Sports and athletic injuries
  • Pelvic floor and health issues

10. Can I talk to a physical therapist before I book just to confirm physical therapy is right for me?
Absolutely. Call our office at (239) 223-0484 or email me at info@backinmotionsspt.comcom.

11. Will you do anything during the first visit to help me?

Yes. I will show you strategies to reduce your discomfort. This is the objective of the first few visits.

12. Is physical therapy just for athletes or people who play sports?

No! Although physical therapy is often associated with athletics due to the prevalence of injuries sustained by participants, it is not entirely a sports-specific specialty.

In fact, physical therapists help more ordinary people over the age of 40 than they do younger athletes, in many cases. However, we serve youth, high school, collegiate, and professional athletes as well as individuals over the age of 40 at our clinic.

13. I’m nervous about making a decision about my health because I have been let down one too many times. What will happen if I just continue to wait and not come in and see you, Scott?

Ultimately, that is a decision only you can make for yourself. Speaking from my experience, many patients will just suffer and do nothing about their current situation.

This is one of the reasons why we recommend that injured individuals and others with pain take action as soon as they can, so they can start feeling better sooner, rather than later.

14. I injured myself while running the other day, how soon should I come to see you?

Getting the appropriate treatment is crucial for long-term relief from injuries. A delay in receiving treatment can set your injury back from healing effectively.

In fact, without proper early intervention, some injuries will not heal properly at all. Therefore, I would recommend making an appointment as soon as possible.

15. What is the difference between physical therapy, chiropractic, and massage therapy?

Physical therapists look for a cause as well as an appropriate solution for the patient. Although I can’t speak for most chiropractors, many often perform manipulations that offer temporary relief without addressing the underlying problem – causing the patient to return time and again for treatment of the same injury.

Although chiropractors and physical therapists both perform very similar hands-on techniques, such as manipulation of the spine, physical therapists also extend treatments to include stretching, strengthening, posture education and retraining, and massage.

The better chiropractors will actually refer some of their patients to physical therapists when appropriate because we have specialized knowledge of more effective treatments beyond simple spinal manipulation.

Massage therapists perform treatments to muscles – which has value. However, many massage therapists are not schooled in which muscles need to be released. Rather, a shotgun approach is frequently taken in working the entire body.

Many times, muscles do not need to be massaged as much as they need to be strengthened – or there may be a more complex issue at the root of joint stiffness. Working the muscles in these cases will not help the patient and wastes time and money.

I once had a patient who was visiting a massage therapist for treatment of lower back pain and was led to believe that his muscles were tight. I quickly realized after doing an examination on this patient that I could not help and referred him to his physician at once. I suspected cancer, and unfortunately, I was correct. 🙁

Massage therapists simply do not have the medical knowledge necessary to make a proper causative diagnosis.

16. What are the chances that physical therapy can help me? Is it a guarantee?

No. There are no guarantees in physical therapy, just as there are no guarantees that a pill or a surgery is going to relieve your pain. As a matter of fact, there are no guarantees in life in general!

However, we will guarantee that we will try to help you by providing the very best physical therapy care possible. I will tell you from practical experience that 95% of all patients get better with physical therapy if they are committed to healing and follow their treatment programs as prescribed.

However, there are some patients who do not recover with physical therapy – either due to the severity of their injury or from lack of commitment to treatment. If you are not making progress with therapy, or if we do not think you will benefit from therapy in the first place, we will tell you – and refer you to the appropriate medical professional

17. Am I alone or does this happen to other people, too?

Believe it or not, you are not alone! We see many people with the same injuries each and every day. Most of our patients suffer from the same common injuries whether they are athletes, active weekend warriors, or individuals over the age of 40 who suffer from general stiffness, pain, and weakness.

18. How quickly can I get into the clinic for an appointment?

Due to our “teach them and release them” approach to treatment, we can usually squeeze in a new patient the same week that they call – and sometimes, that same day. Call our office at (239) 223-0484 to check availability.

19. Do you use modalities and just exercise?

No. We use an eclectic approach of hands-on personal care using manual therapy such as massage, stretching, mobilization and manipulation, and specific exercises for you and your condition.

Sadly, most physical therapists today, especially those in hospital-based clinics, rely mainly on ultrasound and electric current treatments instead of hands-on treatments. They also tend to prescribe general exercises rather than customizing their treatments to each individual patient’s needs.

20. What is the number one reason why I should see a specially trained physical therapist?

The number one reason to make an appointment with me is to put an end to your frustration and put your mind at ease. After taking you through a thorough evaluation, I can give you a diagnosis pinpointing why your pains are occurring and outlining an approach to treatment so you can get back to doing what you love. In return, you can save both time, money, and return to your favorite sport or activities.

21. What’s the difference between a specially trained physical therapist and a general one?

A specialty-trained physical therapist:

  • Is able to communicate with the patient.
  • Can accurately diagnose your problems and concerns.
  • Has manual or “hands-on” skills.
  • Gets you better sooner rather than later and tells you the truth.
  • Know when to refer to another practitioner.
  • Specializes in a few key areas rather than doing everything and, therefore, has more knowledge and training in that particular area which helps patients get better faster.

22. I have arthritis in my joints, will physical therapy help me?

Yes, physical therapy can help relieve achy and arthritic joints. In fact, physical therapy is often the best form of treatment to help reduce or prevent arthritis-related pains from getting worse. In some cases, though, it cannot be cured 100%.

23. Does physical therapy help with knee and hip replacements or help prevent them?

Yes. In many cases, patients can get relief by simply strengthening some muscles in their body, while adjusting how they perform certain activities so they do not overstress their aching knee or hip joints. A lot of times they need “hands-on” care with a specially trained therapist to help get the joint moving or decompressing it.

24. I like to run and golf but my pain is only present when I am doing these activities. Can physical therapy help with my pain during these activities?

Yes. We see this same scenario on a daily basis. Most sport and active injuries will subside and stop causing pain after you stop doing those activities.

With physical therapy, we can detect if you are swinging your club or running improperly, or determine if you need to strengthen certain muscles while stretching others so you can golf and run pain-free. Call us today to get you headed in the right direction!

25. Who will NOT benefit from your physical therapy services, Scott?

Anyone who expects miracles to happen, have their pains abolished overnight, and doesn’t follow instructions from their Specialty Trained Physical Therapist.

26. What is the cost of physical therapy? Is it going to be expensive?

Not really, if you consider the alternative. It is much safer and less expensive than invasive tests such as MRIs, or surgery, or becoming addicted to painkillers. Nor can you put a price tag on your health and the quality of life you want to live.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to assign a generalized cost because each patient is different and will need different treatments and number of visits. For this reason, call us for your free examination consultation so we can discern your situation and what is the option for you.

If we can get you back to walking with your loved one, playing golf again, or back to work so you can make a decent living – and if we can avoid surgery or reliance on painkillers to get you through the day – then physical therapy is worth every dollar spent, right? And if you are an athlete who is missing practice sessions and games, you are missing out on playing the sport you love and interacting with your teammates.

Only you can decide what that is worth – both in terms of pain and absence. And consider this: if you are a professional athlete who is injured in a contract negotiation year, you will lose your negotiating leverage if you can’t play.

27. Do you specialize in any particular area?

We have staff that has specialty training in back and neck pain, orthopedic and sports injuries such as knee and hip pain, foot and ankle pain, and shoulder and elbow pain, as well as pelvic floor (pain during sex or incontinence).

However, we mainly specialize in patients and athletes who value their health, who don’t want to take painkillers, who want to avoid surgery, and want to stay active or return to their sport.

28. How long treatments and what are the different things that you will do during treatment?

Most treatment sessions range from 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the patient’s condition. Although treatments differ from one condition to another, most consist of massage, loosening of stiff joints, strengthening exercises for weak muscles, and educating the patient on different strategies to alleviate their aches and pains naturally or to prevent them from occurring and recurring.

29. Will physical therapy cause me pain?

It depends on the severity of your injury as well as how long ago it happened. If you just twisted your knee or sprained your ankle, for example, some exercises may be slightly painful at first. However, in just a few days, you will feel much better

30. Is there anything I can do at home to help my situation? I heard exercise is sometimes warranted, is that true?

Absolutely. We are always trying to educate our patients so they can feel better sooner.

31. Why did my physician tell me to just rest?

Most general practitioners are NOT specially trained in the management of muscle, bone, and nerve pain (conditions treatable by physical therapists).

Therefore, they often make recommendations that are not necessary or will do little to help the patient recover. Rather, they often prescribe pain pills and muscle relaxers and advise the patient to rest – or send them for expensive tests which may not be needed.

However, the best physicians usually will send you straight to us rather than prescribing rest, painkillers, and expensive tests. So chose your physician carefully. :- )

32. Do you offer payment plans if I am not using my insurance?

We have several different payment options that can be spread across 12 months. Come on in and let’s make it work for your situation.

33. How soon do I pay for my services?

If you are using insurance, your copayment will be due at the time of service. Meanwhile, if you are self-pay you do not pay until you are 100% satisfied with your experience.

34. Is it possible to prevent injuries before they happen?

Yes. We can prevent many injuries or ailments before they occur by examining you and determining what you need to build strength in weak areas of your body, or to relax muscle groups that are tight.

A specially trained therapist can show you how you can modify your exercise or sport technique so you don’t hurt yourself exercising or during athletic competition. In fact, this may be the best of all treatments that we provide, because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Just like visiting the dentist every six months for a cleaning to prevent cavities, you should also see your specialty-trained physical therapist on a regular schedule to prevent the ailments that cause lower back, neck and other pain before they occur and it’s more difficult and expensive to fix

35. Will doing exercises help me get better?

To be honest, it really depends on your condition. Some patients must engage in exercise to alleviate their pains, while others need more “hands-on” techniques.

However, in most cases exercise, does play a very important role. Unfortunately, many clinics and therapists prescribe the WRONG exercises for treatment, and many patients just don’t feel relief. This is just one of the many reasons you s

36. How often will I need treatment?

This too will depend on the severity of your injury and how long it has been present. In many cases, you will only need therapy sessions two to three times per week if you are following our instructions.

37. What is the education level of a physical therapist?

The majority of physical therapists now have clinical Doctorates of Physical Therapy (DPT).

38. What type of athletic and sports injuries do you treat?

We treat all sports injuries and conditions, especially those that occur from golf, tennis, running, football, baseball, and basketball.

39. Do I get to choose a male or female therapist?


The Next Steps

All these questions are common doubts that people have about physical therapy. As with any type of medical treatment, every patient should strictly follow the doctor’s advice regarding physical therapy. But after reading the answer to these questions, we hope that you will have much more clarity regarding this form of treatment.

For any other queries, contact us now.

If you're ready to be treated by Southwest Florida's leading physical therapy clinic, then click here.

About the Author: Harminder

“Physical Therapy, Fitness, & Performance Tips From Dr. Scott & the Back in Motion Team”
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