I’ve been referred to physical therapy. Now what?

Doctor explaining prescriptions

You just left the doctor’s office with a script in hand to see a physical therapist for an injury or illness that’s preventing you from moving properly. Even though the physician shared some background information on the services, you have never been to physical therapy before and don’t know how it all works. What’s the next step?

Select a Physical Therapist:

Deciding where to go for physical therapy can be a daunting process but with a little guidance, you can easily find the best fit for you. Start by talking to friends and family members about where they’ve gone for physical therapy, ask your doctor for a few recommendations, and search online for locations in your community.

Once you have compiled a short list of potential physical therapy clinics, call each location to request more information. Narrow Down the Playing Field. Making an informed decision about your rehabilitation will ensure you find the best physical therapist for your specific condition. Conducting a quick phone interview of a potential rehab professional is the best way to know what to expect from physical therapy.

Here are a few essential questions you should ask a physical therapy clinic:

• What will a typical PT session involve? Each physical therapy clinic  conducts sessions just a little bit differently so it’s important to settle on a place with practice policies that make you comfortable. For example, you may want to choose a clinic that allows you to work with the same physical therapist each time, or to know whether your care is
provided by a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant. Others may select a physical therapy clinic based on session length or whether manual therapy is performed.

• What will be expected of me? Each physical therapist will have slightly different expectations for the role you play in your own recovery. However, all will expect you to participate in a home program to carry over goals established in your therapy sessions.

• How will you help me reach my potential? You’ll want to be sure that the treatment philosophy of the physical therapist you select meshes with your needs. Just like expectations vary from one physical therapist to another, so does the approach.

• What experience/training do you have in treating my injury/illness? No matter what brings you to rehab, you’ll want to find a physical therapist who specializes in treating your specific circumstance. Physical therapists may specialize in neurological or orthopedic conditions, for example, based on interests, experience, continuing education, and professional influences.

• Do you accept my insurance? Physical therapy is often covered by insurance but some locations may not accept your plan, or may not accept insurance at all. Asking in advance can save a lot of headaches down the road and is an opportunity to find out if you need to contact your insurance company before your first visit.

Prepare for the First Day. Having a clear sense of what to expect on the first day of rehab can help avoid any confusion and ensure a successful initial meeting. The clinic you have chosen will likely provide information on its website or over the phone but have these questions handy just
in case:
 • What time should I arrive?
 • Where do I park/enter?
 • What should I wear to rehab?
 • What if I need to reschedule my appointment?

Asking a few questions in advance will ensure you settle on the right PT clinic to address your specific needs and position you for a successful recovery

Combat Depression With Exercise!

Ready, Set, Run! Combat Depression with Regular Exercise
Imagine going to the doctor with symptoms of depression and she hands you a new
prescription: Do two sets of squats, 15 bicep curls, 10 laps around the track and call me in the
morning. Though this is not (yet) an accurate picture, experts are starting to recognize that
regular exercise is not only good for your mood but may help combat depression, too.
Until physicians and other healthcare providers universally prescribe exercise as an alternative
treatment for depression, it’s best to turn to a group of professionals who are already in the
know: physical therapists. PTs are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health
illnesses like depression and understand how the disorder can interfere with a person’s ability to
enjoy life.
An individualized care plan starts with a thorough assessment and detailed patient history so the
PT can capture the limitations of the illness and understand the goals the patient would like to
achieve. Each custom treatment plan includes some combination of flexibility, strength,
coordination and balance exercises designed to achieve optimal physical function and to help
shed the layers of depression.
For patients suffering from depression, it can be stressful and overwhelming to think about
incorporating exercise into their lives either for the first time or after a long hiatus. Because the
illness’ symptoms often include fatigue and loss of interest in activities, it can be difficult for
patients to take that first step, both literally and figuratively. But physical therapists excel in
motivating patients to perform exercises both safely and effectively. In fact, another bonus of
seeing a physical therapist to get started on a new exercise program, is that he’s trained to
identify other injuries or illnesses that require a special approach.
You don’t have to have depression to reap the benefits of exercise. In fact, the mood-boosting
pastime can help anyone who might be temporarily sad or otherwise not themselves. Major life
stressors—divorce, loss of a job, and death—are difficult for anyone and regular exercise is a
great way to help people through a tough time.
With regular exercise, you’re guaranteed to see improvements in the following areas:
• Strength and flexibility
• Sleep
• Memory
• Self-confidence
• Energy
• Mood
Even minimal changes in any of these areas could change your outlook on the day and your
ability to participate in activities you once enjoyed. So, what are you waiting for?

Outdoor cross-country running in summer sunshine concept for exercising, fitness and healthy lifestyle

One on One Care

OUR FOCUS IS ON QUALITY OF CARE

 

At Back Country Physical Therapy we only offer one on one care. You will be seen by the same highly experienced physical therapist from when you enter our clinic until the day your treatment is complete.

This ensures 100% continuity of care and no information is lost in the exchange between a PT and a PTA or Aide. No offense to the other clinics that do; we simply don’t. However, if we did, you would be seen by a multitude of folks and the first therapist who saw you might do a check in every 5th visit as required by law.

Seeing different people with different levels of education, will mean you having to explain your situation and re-introduce yourself. In fact, it is not uncommon for an ill-informed clinician who has or has not seen you to ask, “What did he/she do last time? Was it like this? So you’re not supposed to do that?”

One on one care translates to quality of care vs. handing you off to someone else to increase the clinics productivity (financial gain.) Remember this; you and your insurance company will receive the same bill regardless if you are seen by a highly skilled therapist or someone who just graduated from high school, working as an Aide.

Brett Jenks, PT, DPT, Cert MDT has Post-doctorate education and advanced certifications because he wants to provide the best, evidence and outcome based care possible. This in turn will help you get back to the things you enjoy doing faster! You really deserve nothing less!

 

Kind Regards,

Back Country Physical Therapy

Ice or Heat? What to do?

The Question: Ice or Heat?

At my clinic a common question arises time and time again. Should I ice it or put heat on it? Great question! Depends on what type of condition or injury you have and when you sustained it.

Many people have heard the term R.I.C.E. or Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. R.I.C.E. is used primarily after an acute injury or within 48 hours after an injury has happened. For example, if a runner has a significant ankle sprain, he/she will want to ice the ankle to decrease the “carpet bombing” effect of multiple red and white blood cells scrambling to the site of injury for repair. This is the time to put ice on the ankle to decrease the inflammation in the area. The same goes for most acute injuries. Continue reading “Ice or Heat? What to do?”

Having Vertigo

Woman with vertigo. Young female patient suffering from dizziness.

Treatment can help with form of vertigo

By Brett Jenks, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT

 

Have you ever experienced a dizziness where the world feels like it is spinning around you? It might be due to a common condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV.

It’s something that can be treated very successfully with a technique used by doctors and physical therapists with a simple procedure called the Epley maneuver, developed in 1980 by Dr. John Epley in Portland, Ore. Continue reading “Having Vertigo”

Get The Physical Therapy You Deserve

Doctor explaining prescriptions

 

It’s Your Right To Choose

Did you know that you have the right to choose where you want to have physical therapy? After talking with people, it is astonishing to me to find out how many patients don’t know this. Most have been handed a predetermined referral from their primary or referring physician and told where to go get physical therapy.

Continue reading “Get The Physical Therapy You Deserve”