Frequently Asked Questions
What do orthopedic physical therapists do?
Orthopedic physical therapists are movement and pain specialists. We can properly diagnose and treat most conditions that involve your bones, joints, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and nerves.
How does a physical therapist know what’s wrong with me if I haven’t yet had an X-ray/MRI?
Physical therapists go through years of training to properly diagnose musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions without imaging. This is the reason why most insurance companies require patients to go through physical therapy for 4-6 weeks before they authorize an MRI. Physical therapists are trained to identify conditions that require further testing surgical and/or pharmacological intervention. If we do not think you are appropriate for physical therapy, we send you back to your physician or to an orthopedic doctor.
How often are PT sessions needed?
This depends on the severity of your condition/pain and how much your physical therapist thinks you will need skilled, in-person treatment. Most patients attend physical therapy two times per week.
What happens during a typical follow-up visit?
Our team of clinicians will work together with you every visit to help you reach your goal in the shortest amount of time possible. We use a combination of manual therapy, education, therapeutic exercise, and modalities to accelerate your healing. During your follow-up visits, we will also further educate you about your pain and build your home exercise program. Our goal is always to get you independent so that you can both treat your pain and prevent it from coming back without our help in the future.
Can I start PT even if I am in a great amount of pain? How will I be able to do any exercise?
Injuries heal faster when they are treated early and often. Physical therapists can get you moving safely to desensitize painful tissue and decrease symptoms quickly. We will only have you perform exercises that are relatively pain-free.
What is manual therapy?
Physical therapists can use their hands to safely move your joints and stretch your muscles. Manual therapy provides patients with fast pain relief, improved flexibility, and increased function. Our therapists at Advantage Physical Therapy are highly trained in manual therapy techniques and are constantly working on their clinical skills.
What type of education does a physical therapist have?
Physical therapists must graduate with a doctorate degree to treat patients. We have a very similar understanding and training of the human body as an orthopedic surgeon. The only difference is that orthopedic surgeons perform injections, surgery, and request medical imaging. Physical therapists treat conditions conservatively with exercise, education, and manual techniques.
What happens during a typical initial evaluation?
Your physical therapist will get to know you and what you are having difficulty with. He/she will ask you questions about your pain, what you can’t do because of it, and what your goals are. The physical therapist will then watch you move and perform testing to determine the likely tissue that is injured and what is causing it. With a proper mechanical diagnosis, the physical therapist can now start to get you moving and feeling better with manual therapy, education, modalities, and therapeutic exercise.
How long will my course of treatment be?
This also depends on your condition and pain. Everyone heals at different rates. Most tissues in your body heal within 6-8 weeks, but this can also vary between individuals. Your physical therapist will give you an estimate on your specific healing time frame during your initial evaluation and follow up visits.