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What should I expect during physical therapy sessions?

Physical therapy sessions typically involve an assessment of your condition, manual techniques to improve mobility and flexibility, individualized exercises and activities to help you reach your goals, education on how to prevent further injury or pain, and instruction on proper posture, body mechanics and other lifestyle changes.


Do I need a referral from my doctor before attending Physical Therapy?

California is a direct access state, meaning you don’t need a referral to see a physical therapist. To practice via direct access, a PT must:
Refer the patient to the patient’s physician if the patient presents with signs of a condition that requires treatment beyond the physical therapy scope of practice.
Refer the patient to his or her physician if he or she is not progressing toward documented treatment goals in manner that can be objectively measured.
Disclose to the patient any financial interest the therapist has in treating the patient
If the PT is working as part of a physical therapy corporation, he or she must comply with Chapter 1, Article 6, commencing with Section 650.
Notify the patient’s physician or surgeon—with the patient’s written authorization—that the patient is being treated by a physical therapist.
Provide written or verbal notice to the patient in at least 14-point type to indicate receipt of direct physical therapy treatment services. This notice must also:
Note that the patient may continue receiving direct PT treatment for up to 45 calendar days or 12 visits, whichever occurs first.
Indicate that after 45 days or 12 visits, the physical therapist may only continue treating the patient with receipt of a dated signature on the physical therapist’s plan of care indicating (1) approval of that plan and (2) that an in-person examination and evaluation was conducted by the appropriate healthcare provider. The only exception is when the PT provides wellness services or PT services under a family service plan or individualized education plan (IEP) and the patient does not have a medical diagnosis.
Be signed by the patient.
If treatment lasts longer than 45 calendar days or 12 visits—whichever comes first—the physical therapist must obtain a dated signature on the plan of care from the patient’s healthcare provider.
Approval of the plan of care includes an in-person patient exam and evaluation and, if necessary, testing by the patient’s healthcare provider.
The PT may not diagnose a disease.
A referral and certification are required before the PT can perform tissue penetration

What do I need to wear or bring with me?

You should dress in comfortable, loose clothing that allows you to move easily and doesn’t restrict circulation. Depending on your condition, your physical therapist may also recommend special shoes or a brace. You should also bring any paperwork related to your medical history, including x-rays, ultrasounds, and doctor’s notes.

Is there anything I can do before my appointment to prepare?

Yes! Make sure you arrive for your session well-rested so that you can give it your full attention and energy. It is also helpful if you keep track of how much pain medication (if any) you take prior to the appointment so that the physical therapist can adjust the intensity of treatment accordingly.

How long will my physical therapy sessions last?

Sessions typically last 30-60 minutes depending on your condition and the types of techniques used. Your physical therapist will give you an estimate when you first arrive for your appointment.

Are there any exercises I can do at home between appointments to help improve my condition?

Yes! Your physical therapist may provide specific exercise recommendations for you to try in between visits, which will help speed up your recovery and progress faster toward reaching your goals. It’s important to follow these carefully and always check with your PT before starting a new exercise program if you have any questions or concerns.

What if I have questions after my physical therapy session?

Your physical therapist should be available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your treatment plan before and after each visit. You can also contact the clinic directly for further assistance. We want you to get the most out of every session!

Will insurance cover my physical therapy?

It depends on your insurance plan. Most plans cover some or all of the costs associated with physical therapy, but you should check with your provider to determine coverage and any associated fees.

How often will I need to attend physical therapy sessions?

The frequency of visits will depend on your individual goals and condition, but typically it is recommended that patients attend 2-3 times per week for a minimum of 4-6 weeks in order to maximize results. Your therapist will provide more details during your initial appointment.

How long will it take for me to see results?

Every person’s situation is unique; therefore the amount of time needed to reach goals varies. With commitment and dedication from both you and your physical therapist, you can expect to start seeing results within a few weeks. The more positive lifestyle changes you make, the faster your progress will be!

Will my physical therapist be able to answer any questions I have about my condition?

Yes! Your physical therapist should be available to discuss any concerns or questions you have regarding your condition or treatment plan. Don’t hesitate to bring up any issues that may arise during the course of therapy.

What if I feel too much pain during a session?

If at any time during your physical therapy session you experience increased pain, it’s important to let your therapist know so they can adjust the intensity or technique as necessary. Your therapist will work with you to make sure that treatment is comfortable and effective for you

How will I know when I no longer need physical therapy?

Your physical therapist should be able to provide guidance on when it is appropriate to stop attending physical therapy sessions based on your progress, goals, and overall health status. It’s important to listen to your therapist and continue with treatment until they feel you are ready to move on.