Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
(Click the questions below for the answers)
Physical therapists are experts in how the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems function. Physical therapist services are cost-effective. Early physical therapy intervention prevents more costly treatment later, can result in a faster recovery, and reduces costs associated with lost time from work. Physical therapy can often resolve your concerns without requiring surgery or other invasive and costly procedures.
The following list contains some of the most common reasons to see a physical therapist:
- Back conditions – pain in neck/back, stiffness/tightness in neck/low back, MVA related
- Knee problems
- Shoulder/arm conditions
- Neck conditions
- Sprains and muscle strains
- Ankle/foot problems
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, hand/wrist problems
- Hip fracture
- Post-surgical rehabilitation for spinal conditions (fusions/discectomies), shoulder (labral/rotator cuff tears), knee (trauma/ligament reconstruction)
- Rehabilitation after a serious injury (eg, broken bones, head injury)
- Stroke rehabilitation
- Problems with balance
- Pre-/post-natal programs
- Women’s health
In most states you may see a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral, but be sure to check your health insurance plan to see if physical therapist services are covered without a physician’s referral.
Ask the Physical Therapy clinic if the PT specializes in the area of your injury or concern. Level of experience and specialization can make a significant difference in your rehab outcome/results.
Make sure that you receive physical therapy from a licensed physical therapist. Physical Therapists are professional health care providers who are licensed in the State of South Carolina. If you are receiving physical therapy from a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA), be sure that he or she is supervised by a licensed physical therapist and that you were given a full evaluation by the Physical Therapist prior to be treated by the PTA.
Physical therapists help restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients with injuries or disease. They also restore, maintain, and promote overall fitness and health.
Occupational therapy is therapy based on performing the meaningful activities of daily life (self-care skills, education, work or social interaction) especially to enable or enhance participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning. Occupational therapy is for individuals of all ages – to improve skills that help them perform daily tasks at home, school, work and at play.
Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled professionals. Their education includes the study of human growth and development, with specific emphasis on the social, emotional and physical effects of illness and injury. They help individuals with illnesses, injuries, certain conditions or disabilities get on with their “occupations” of living.
Occupational therapy practitioners are unique in that they look at the whole picture when it comes to a person’s treatment – the individual’s abilities, the task to be performed, and the environment in which the task takes place.
In a team of healthcare specialists, a surgeon, for example, will operate you your injured knee. A physical therapist will devise a series of exercises to help the knee heal property with a maximum range of motion. An occupational therapist will ask, “What do you need your knee to do? What activities do you wan to do, so you can adapt (the way you walk, drive, move around at home, etc.) to that knee,” thereby determining the right treatment for keeping you mobile and an active participant in your own life.
Chances are, you or a family member will need occupational therapy at some point in your life.
About one-third of occupational therapy practitioners work in school systems, pediatric hospitals, and healthcare facilities helping millions of children. This place OT practitioners on the front lines of information about child health and wellness.
Within the school system, occupational therapy helps children facing physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges that affect their school performance, socialization and health. School-based OT assessment and intervention focuses on certain areas:
- Activities of daily living (caring for self needs such as eating, dressing and toilet habits)
- Education (achieving in the learning environment)
- Play (interacting with age-appropriate play, games, equipment and activities)
- Social participation (developing appropriate relationships and engaging in behavior that doesn’t interfere with learning or social relationships)
- Work (developing interests and skills necessary for transition to community life after graduation)
Occupational therapists perform a variety of services for individual adults, such as rehabilitation therapy after a work injury or accident. Occupational therapists also work in consultation with employers and community-based organizations on a number of fronts, from program and facility design to day-to-day operations.
Occupational therapists serve as advisors to manufacturing and service companies in areas covering wellness, ergonomics, and rehabilitation. Community organizations, government agencies, even construction companies confer with occupational therapists to develop programs to meet the needs of specific populations in the area of community mobility, wellness, facility design and universal accessibility.
Nearly one-third of occupational therapy practitioners work with older adults. They perform many types of activities, employing many types of therapies, with the overriding goal of helping older adults regain or maintain a level of independence that will allow them to age in place for as long as possible. OT has proven effective for seniors living with various medical conditions or recovering from surgery.
In addition to working with individuals to increase strength or regain important life-supporting skills, occupational therapists work throughout a community, counseling families, local governments, and community groups to ensure that each is doing what it can to help older adults maintain their independence.
What should a parent/guardian and child expect at a first visit for pediatric occupational or physical therapy?
Parents/Guardians should bring with to their first visit the completed set of forms from the “new patient info packet,” driver’s license and insurance card and hand it to the intake coordinator. The parent will be required to pay the co-pay, co-insurance, or cash rate depending on their insurance. The evaluating therapist will then take the parent and patient into an evaluation room for the evaluation. The therapist will interview the parent and discuss concerns. Standardized tests will be initiated and/or completed in the 60 minute session. The therapist will answer as many questions as possible, and provide parent education. At the end, future appointments will be discussed and set with the intake coordinator. The intake coordinator will discuss best times/days for future appointments. The parent will be given the contact information of the evaluating therapist, in case they have further questions.
Your first visit should include an evaluation by the physical or occupational therapist. Your therapist will perform an examination to identify current and potential problems. Based on the results of the examination, and considering your specific goals, your physical or occupational therapist will design a plan of care to include specific interventions and will propose a timetable to achieve these goals and optimize your function. Your physical or occupational therapist will likely provide you with instructions to perform exercises at home to facilitate your recovery.
You should feel comfortable asking your therapist any questions regarding your course of care, including specifics regarding interventions and expectations.
Please wear clothing that allows for:
- Comfort and unrestricted motion
- Exposing of injured and related areas
Please bring the following to your first visit:
- Completed Paperwork (Patient Information and Past Medical History Forms)
- A copy of your list of medications
- A list of your Physicians / Health Care Practitioners and their contact info **
- Insurance Card(s)
- Picture ID
- Referral / Prescription
** Not always required – please call if you have any questions