FAQs on Physical Therapy in Atlanta

If you suffer from low back pain, you are not the only one. Approximately 25% of people in the U.S. report suffering from low back pain during the past 3 months. For many of these individuals, the pain resolves on its own.

However, for others, back pain is a chronic problem, affecting quality of life and causing significant disability. Physical therapy can improve mobility and reduce back pain, as well as treat other conditions.

What can I expect at the first physical therapy visit?

Not all back and joint conditions are the same, so your treatment is tailored to fit your specific symptoms and conditions. At the initial visit, the physical therapist will review your condition, ask some questions, and evaluate your test results.

In addition, the therapist will assess your gait, posture, range of motion, strength, joint mobility, and soft tissues. Once an individualized treatment plan has been developed, you will be scheduled to start therapy.

What are the types of physical therapy treatments?

Several components of physical therapy may help your unique condition. Treatment options include:

  • Manual therapy – This includes spinal manipulation, which improves mobility of soft tissues and joints.
  • Exercises – These include strengthening and flexibility exercises.
  • Training – This involves training for doing chores at home and work, for proper lifting, bending, and sitting, and for correct sleeping positions.
  • Treatments – Options include ice therapy, heat treatments, or electrical stimulation.

Will my insurance pay for physical therapy?

With a doctor’s order, most insurances will cover physical therapy services. We will be happy to assist you with insurance verification. We currently provide services that many insurance companies recognize, and our list of carriers continues to grow.

What should I wear?

For physical therapy treatments, you should wear comfortable clothes that are not restrictive to movement. In addition, we recommend closed-toe shoes, such as sneakers, and absolutely no heels. We can provide you with a gown that covers all body parts, or you can wear cotton shorts or sweatpants and a t-shirt.

How long will I need therapy and how often do I come to the center?

For the initial evaluation, you will only be at the clinic for around 60 minutes, although this varies from patient to patient. Physical therapy visits will range from 30-45 minutes, but no longer than one hour. You will report to the center 2-3 times each week, but this depends on your diagnosis.

Should I take my pain medication before coming to the therapy clinic?

Physical therapy may increase the intensity of your pain for a brief period of time. Because every deals with pain differently, it may make your treatment more tolerable to take pain medication before treatment sessions. Be sure to follow all directions, and bring a driver to transport you home if you are on narcotic pain medicine.

Will the physical therapist communicate with my doctor regarding my progress?

The pain specialist and physical therapist are in constant communication regarding patient progress. Your physician will receive a copy of you evaluation and plan of care immediately after the first visit. In addition, weekly or bi-weekly reports are sent to the doctor.

Is physical therapy effective?

In a review of 6 randomized control trails, physical therapy patients reported statistically less healthcare utilization, medication use, and lost work time. In another clinical study comparing effectiveness of physical therapy and care of a general practitioner, success rates of therapy was reported at 75% one year post treatment. In addition, short-term results at 7 weeks showed that mechanical treatments speeded recovery compared to GP care.

References

Hoving JL, de Vet HC, Koes, BW et al. (2006). Manual therapy, physical therapy, or continued care by the general practitioner for patients with neck pain: long-term results from a pragmatic randomized clinical trial. Clinical Journal of Pain, 22(4), 370-377.

Kuczynski JJ, Schwieterman B, Columber K, Knupp D, Shaub L, & Cook CE (2012). “Effectiveness of physical therapist administered spinal manipulation for the treatment of low back pain: a systematic review of the literature”. Int J Sports Phys Ther 7 (6): 647–662. PMID 23316428.