October 29, 2020
October is National Physical Therapy
Strive Physical Therapy has been
operating since 2005. Strive is proudly owned
by physical therapists. Our objective
is to improve the quality of life of every client and community group we have
the opportunity to serve. With very few
exceptions, NJ law allows patients to receive physical therapy treatment from a
licensed physical therapist without a referral or prescription.
Okay – But what
is PT? And what should you expect? – Don’t worry! We’re here to ask all your
Physical Therapist in our Moorestown location was able to
answer some of the frequently asked questions about PT with us. Amanda,
affectionately referred to as ACE, not only has her doctorate in Physical
Therapy but has recently passed the certification exam to be certified as an
orthopedic specialist. She is extremely passionate about Physical Therapy and
her daily work. She truly enjoys getting to improve the lives of others through
daily commitment and compassion for each individual she comes in contact with.
Although physical therapy can be offered in a variety of settings,
we’re going to focus on commonly asked questions in regards to what to expect
at your PT experience here at Strive.
What is physical therapy?
As per the State Board of Physical
Therapy Examiners in summary, "Physical therapy" and
"physical therapy practice" means the identification of physical
impairment, movement-related functional limitation, or balance disorder that
occurs as a result of injury or congenital or acquired disability, or other
of your impairment is through examination,
evaluation and diagnosis of the physical impairment or movement-related
functional limitation and the establishment of a prognosis (timeline of
of the physical impairment or movement-related functional
limitation, which shall include, but is not limited to: the alleviation of pain, physical impairment
and movement-related functional limitation by therapeutic intervention.
intervention can include: manual therapy techniques and massage,
electro-therapeutic modalities, wound care, the use of physical agents,
mechanical modalities, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises with or without
assistive devices, neurodevelopmental procedures, joint mobilization,
movement-related functional training in self-care, providing assistance in
community and work integration or reintegration, providing training in
techniques for the prevention of injury, impairment, movement-related
functional limitation, or dysfunction, providing consultative, educational/other
advisory services, and collaboration with other health care providers in
connection with patient care.
What happens in a therapy
When you arrive, we will bring you
back to start your session. Your session may begin with a modality such as
heat, an active warm up on/off a machine, or with manual treatment techniques
performed by your physical therapist. You
can ask questions at any time regarding your symptoms, pain management,
pathology or if you need to review performance of your home exercise program.
prescribed by your physical therapist will be performed throughout the session.
These are specific exercises geared towards improving your progress towards
your specific goals which may include: strength, flexibility, range of motion,
endurance, balance, coordination, or body mechanics
Physical therapy aides are under
direct supervision of a physical therapist. You will often see them assisting
in cleaning and preparing equipment for the next patient which assists
tremendously with clinic cleanliness, organization, and patient flow. An aide
may guide you to the right area of equipment for these exercises, but your
physical therapist will instruct you in proper performance.
Your session may or may not end
with heat, ice, or modalities including: traction or electrical stimulation per
recommendations from your doctor or treating physical therapist based on the
pathology you are being seen for
Why do I have to do these
exercises? Some of them make me sore…
Muscle soreness is a key
indication that you are challenging your body to make changes and progressing
towards functional recovery. If you
feel that the soreness is more than normal, review your exercise performance
and prescription with your physical therapist to make sure that everything is
Why does meeting my goals
with physical therapy take longer than I had thought?
Some common factors that can affect your timeline of progress can
The duration of time you have had your symptoms in relation to the
time you were initially evaluated for physical therapy (if you have had your
symptoms longer than 3 months this can be considered chronic pain and possibly
take you longer to see results). No matter what duration you have had your
symptoms; physical therapy has been proven effective in improving the quality
of life of individuals dealing with physical ailments
You may have current or past medical history which includes
co-morbidities that can affect your progress
You may not be consistent in your nutrition, hydration, and sleep quality which can also hinder the
rate of your progress. These factors though are highly in your control, it is
just up to you to make the necessary changes to accelerate your progress
Do I really have to do
Adhering to your home exercise
program consistently as prescribed by your physical therapist is essential to
success in meeting your functional goals
Most physical therapy
prescriptions will maximize at 3x per week. In this case there are 4 days per
week that you are not being seen in the clinic by your physical therapist.
Performing your prescribed home exercises allows you to stay consistent in your
exercise performance and prevent any regression in the progress you’ve made
with skilled care; helping to get you better, faster!
What’s the difference between physical
therapy and occupational therapy (OT)?
Occupational therapists like
physical therapists are available in a variety of clinical settings. Both
professions aim to improve the quality of life of the patient through
therapeutic intervention and education in health and prevention of injury.
Occupational therapists strongly
emphasize using daily activities (occupations) as their interventional approach
with hands on cueing. Physical therapists will examine your movement mechanics
and musculoskeletal deficits affecting your functional performance and address
those with specific interventions. Physical therapists can also use
occupational and daily intervention activities with patients who are seen under
worker’s compensation insurance or who wish to improve their performance with
activities of daily living with their PT monitoring their quality of movement.
Is PT painful?
Pain is a universal human
experience but it is experienced and interpreted very differently by every
single individual. Patients will often quote “no pain no gain” and “PT stands
for physical torture right?” I feel that this creates a negative outlook for
future patients hoping to try physical therapy.
Pain is often a reason patients opt
for physical therapy treatment. In this case and especially in post operative
cases patients will present initially reporting pain limiting their quality of
life, and report goals to get rid of
pain as part of their functional outcome performance.
Physical therapists often educate
patients regarding their pain through making them knowledgeable in regards to
pain science and the system of the brain and body connection. Patients then are
able to realize that their pain experience can be reduced simply through
education and positive approaches to pain management such as exercise!
It is important for the patient to
communicate consistently the level of pain and discomfort they are having with
performing an intervention, or having a manual technique performed on them in
order for the physical therapist to make the appropriate adjustments for the
What if the pain or
It is very common that aches and
pains will return especially with repetitive activities, repetitive stress and
heavy loads, or even from inactivity. Symptoms
can often return when a patient fails to maintain consistent performance of
their home exercises, experiences increased stress levels, and/or difficulty
maintaining healthy routines
Physical therapy helps to equip
the patient with the knowledge and confidence that they need to address the
return of their symptoms with a more active approach. If the patient does not
feel they can manage the return of symptoms on their own, they are able to
return to physical therapy for assistance and treatment.
How many visits will I
The amount of visits for physical
therapy is very highly dependent on the diagnosis you are being seen for. The
amount of visits may be prescribed and recommended through a prescription from
your doctor if you have been referred by them to participate in physical
If you seek physical therapy care
independently through direct access provided by your insurance, then you and
your physical therapist will determine your plan of care. Ultimately, you and
your physical therapist will discuss the frequency and duration of your care to
maximize your functional outcomes and goals set for physical therapy.
Do you need a prescription
for physical therapy?
Depending on the type of medical
insurance you have, you may require a prescription from your doctor in order to
be evaluated and treated with physical therapy care.
If your insurance allows direct
access, you are able to be evaluated
by a physical therapist prior to seeing your physician. This is a great
opportunity for the patient to be seen as soon as the day of injury to get
started with treatment and prevent the patient from waiting to be seen. This
can prevent the patient from developing poor movement mechanics and habits that
would hinder future progress and increase pain with activities of daily living.
Can my Physical Therapist
provide me with a diagnosis?
Physical therapists are highly
trained in evaluation and examination of the human body. You are able to
receive a physical therapy diagnosis at the end of your evaluation based on the
physical therapist’s findings the day of your initial evaluation.
For example, if you are being seen for right knee pain affecting
your walking you may receive diagnosis of ICD 10 codes including: M25561 pain
in right knee, R2689 other abnormalities of gait and mobility
If you are looking for a more
specific diagnosis, research has presented physical therapists with statistical
references resulting in clinical prediction rules which assist with making more
accurate diagnoses and predictions for ailments such as osteoarthritis,
shoulder impingement, and rotator cuff injury.
Amanda Steward, PT, DPT, OCS... Read Amanda’s bio here .
questions about PT and what to expect? Call your local Strive office today! 800-903-4142
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