Bone & Joint

The Most Common Questions We Receive about Physical Therapy

Before patients begin their first physical therapy appointment, they may have some questions. Megan Day, DPT, shares some of the most common ones she hears – and the answers she gives.

Mar. 8, 2022

Patients who start physical therapy for the first time might have questions about the process. Whether they are referred by a physician or choose to go to physical therapy on their own, there are some common questions that come up at the first appointment.

Megan Day, DPT, works at WNY Geneva Physical Therapy and shares her knowledge with those who might want to know more about the process.

Why did you choose to go into physical therapy?

When I was young, I was involved in a car crash and ended up needing physical therapy for several months. Through that time, I became very familiar about what to expect and the process people go through at physical therapy.

When the time came for me to choose what I wanted to do after high school, I thought about what my own physical therapist had been able to do for me. That was something I wanted to do for others, so I chose to go into the field. I don’t know if I would have thought about becoming a physical therapist had I not had that personal experience.

What conditions benefit from physical therapy?

There is a variety of conditions that we work on with our patients to help them improve and reach their goals. Some of those include:

  • Pain in or injury to the:
    • Ankle
    • Back
    • Elbow
    • Foot
    • Hip
    • Knee
    • Neck
    • Shoulder
    • Wrist
  • Headaches
  • Pre-operative and post-operative rehabilitation
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Vestibular rehabilitation
  • Fall prevention
  • Balance
  • Strengthening

What types of treatment do you offer?

Our staff is trained and certified in an array of various methods of physical therapy. Treatments may differ depending on the reason why you are doing physical therapy.

Treatment options we offer are both provider-directed and patient-directed, such as:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Joint mobilization
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening
  • Stabilization
  • Balance
  • Functional mobility

We also have methods to assist with pain management, including:

  • Applying heat/cold
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Ultrasound
  • Iontophoresis

What does a first visit look like?

An initial evaluation will last approximately 60 minutes. Beginning with a one-on-one interview, a member of our staff will get to know the patient and their primary concerns.

After discussing the patient’s medical history and their need for physical therapy, the provider will create the best treatment plan with the patient. Together, they will determine goals, ensure their expectations align with the physical therapist’s expectations, and talk about what comes next.

Depending on the patient, treatment may start during the first session.

Which kinds of providers work at WNY Geneva Physical Therapy?

Currently, Dr. Day is the sole physical therapist at the practice.

All physical therapists will have at least a Bachelor of Science. Many have masters, and most have a doctorate level degree in physical therapy (DPT). Most DPT programs last six years.

Some clinics have Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA) on staff, similar to a Physician Assistant. PTAs are able to provide nearly all the same treatments as a physical therapist, but do not conduct the initial consultation or send progress reporters to primary care providers.

What is the difference between a physical therapist and a chiropractor?

Chiropractors and physical therapists can have similar treatment strategies and will even work in conjunction with one another for some patients.

Where the practices diverge are in two main areas: traditional vs. alternative medicine, and timeframe.

Chiropractors practice a form of alternative medicine that focuses on properly aligning the body, usually the spine, with health benefits and pain relief resulting from regular maintenance. They may also have regularly scheduled appointments with patients, along with acute care visits as needed.

Physical therapists practice traditional medicine and specifically focus on functionality and movement. Their ultimate goal is to guide a patient to return to the level of function they had before they started physical therapy so they no longer require follow-up visits – often within a set amount of time.

Are there specialized physical therapy treatments you offer?

Most of our patients are being treated for general orthopedic and chronic pain issues. We do have special training for vertigo treatment.

We see both pediatric and adult patients with orthopedic conditions. Currently we are not treating infants or toddlers, but we are happy to assist families in finding appropriate centers for children who may require early intervention services.

Primary care providers are a good resource as to whether a patient should do physical therapy or not. We keep open lines of communication with all providers, and keep them up to date on the progress of our patients, as well as any concerns that may arise if patients are not meeting their goals as expected. 

Is physical therapy painful?

“No pain, no gain” is not our motto.

We work to keep our patients as comfortable as possible while keeping them on track to meet their goals. Throughout the therapy process, our providers communicate with their patients with the knowledge that some things might be difficult to get through at first, but to keep focusing on their end goal.

Hands-on treatments and other methods of therapy treatments help with pain management. We teach our patients strategies they can use to cope between visits, as well.

Will I see the same therapist during every visit?

At WNY Geneva Physical Therapy, yes. However, staffing may vary depending on the clinic and their practices.

Keeping the same provider-patient relationship is good for everyone involved. The provider develops a good rapport with the patient and understands their case more thoroughly. The same is true for the patient understanding what the provider needs.

With this in mind, physical therapists work closely with one another to communicate the needs of their patients in the event of someone being unavailable for a patient’s appointment.

Can I attend physical therapy without a prescription?

In New York, yes. Patients are allowed to undergo physical therapy through direct access. Most insurance policies cover physical therapy – with the exception of workers’ compensation, no fault, and Medicare/Medicaid.

If a patient wants to come in for physical therapy before visiting a doctor’s office for a prescription, they can attend for 10 visits or 30 days before they need to obtain a prescription.

To determine your level of coverage, check with your health insurance to be sure.

NEXT STEPS Start On Your Road to Recovery

After a life-altering diagnosis or event, our highly trained therapists will be with you every step of the way on your road to recovery. Rochester Regional Health Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation is focused on you feeling, performing, and living better.

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875 Pre Emption Road
Suite 3
Geneva, New York 14456
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