Physical therapy is a branch of health care aimed at improving a patient’s functional abilities. This is achieved through evaluating and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Physical therapy can help a wide variety of patients all along the lifespan.
- You will need to bring your prescription for physical therapy and your insurance card.
- There will be paper work to fill out upon your arrival which can be downloaded on our website. See Forms.
- You should come dressed in comfortable clothing such as what you would wear to the gym.
- The initial evaluation typically lasts 1 hour to a 1 hour and 15 min.
- A thorough evaluation of your injury will be performed
- Education will be provided regarding your injury/diagnosis. Handouts will be issued to you with information on your injury and how to reduce stresses to the involved body part.
- Treatment of your injury will be performed
- A home exercise program will be assigned with handouts that include pictures and explanations of the exercises.
A typical physical therapy visit is approximately an hour long consisting of manual treatment, such as increasing joint mobility or soft tissue mobility, therapeutic exercises and modalities (as needed) such as electrical stimulation. The manual treatment and exercises prescribed are focused on your individual needs.
Each physical therapy visit will be approximately one hour. The therapist will discuss with you at the time of the initial evaluation an estimated duration of treatment that you can expect. The duration of physical therapy is dependent on the injury and the progress of the individual.
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- Physical Therapist - A physical therapist requires completion of an accredited graduate level physical therapy program to be eligible to take the national board certification exam and receive a proper license to practice. The vast majority of the programs are highly competitive, at prestigious academic institutions, and have strict undergraduate prerequisites.
- Personal trainers - are not required to have any formal education, licenses, or certification to train clients.
- Massage therapy - there are no set educational or clinical standards set to become a massage therapist. In California, there is no requirement for a licensure, it varies city to city.
B. License Board examination
- Current entry level requirements for a physical therapist include obtaining a Masters or Doctorate degree in physical therapy from an accredited university. One may earn an undergraduate degree in any field of interest, but must complete a core set of science and biology classes to be eligible to apply. Physical therapists must then pass the National Board Exam and the California State Law Exam in order to practice.
- Entry into massage school requires a high school diploma. In states that regulate massage therapy, one must have 500 supervised hours upon graduating from an accredited school and pass a national certification exam. As of January 1, 2007 the state of California does not regulate massage therapy, however regulation may occur at the local level.
- The requirements to become a personal trainer involve being at least 18 years old and often times CPR certification is required. There is no national standardized test to obtain a personal trainer certificate, and requirements can vary wildly. Some require you to take a certification exam at a testing center or you can send your exam in by mail.
After performing a complete evaluation of your condition, your physical therapist will determine the appropriate course of treatment to maximize your recovery. Massage can be a component of treatment, however massage alone is rarely the most effective course of action. Exercise, stretching and modalities are also very important tools in restoring function and minimizing pain. Your therapist will customize a treatment plan to meet your specific needs.
A MPT stands for Masters in Physical Therapy and DPT stands for Doctorate in Physical Therapy. MPT has been standard education level since 1993. In 2001, many programs switched from the degree title of MPT program to a DPT program. Current DPT programs have a similar length of program and education regime as previously needed to obtain a MPT
Yes and No. Yes, if you have an injury/aliment/surgery that requires medical intervention by a physical therapist. Regardless if you are paying cash or using insurance, a prescription/referral is required for physical therapy intervention. It is highly recommended that you obtain a referral (also called a “prescription”) for physical therapy before you begin treatment. Referrals can come from any physician, chiropractor, or a dentist. All referrals need to include your name, the date, and your diagnosis. Once you receive your referral, you will need to schedule your initial appointment for physical therapy within 30 days of the date on the referral. After 30 days, the referral will expire, and an updated one will need to be obtained.
No if you are seeking fitness or biomechanical instructions by a physical therapist. For example, if you wanted to see your physical therapist to evaluate your running gait, increase your flexibility, evaluate your golf swing, or increase your general strength. Although no prescription is required these items, they are not reimbursable by insurance companies.
The term accepting insurance can be misleading to patients, as it implies that the provider is in-network with the insurance plan. Many providers, in order to not turn away potential business, will inform the patients that they “accept” his/her insurance plan. In turn, the patient interprets “accepts” as “in-network”, but in fact, the provider is “out-of-network” for the insurance plan. Being out-of- network means the patient usually is subjected to large financial penalties, such as a large deductible, copay, and co-insurance. So always ask your provider if he/she is IN-NETWORK with your insurance plan, and be wary of providers that state they “accept” your insurance. IN- Network means that the provider is contracted with the individual’s insurer and pre-determined rate is set for provided services. Because there is a pre-determined rate it is less costly to the individual.