As therapists, or even supporting staff, we get asked many questions regarding physical therapy. Below we discuss a few frequently asked questions we get in the clinic. If you have questions that you don’t see here, always feel free to call our office so that we can answer them for you.
Do I need a referral?
Not necessarily. The state of Oregon has unlimited directed access, which means that you can see a physical therapist without referral from your PCP. Some insurances like Medicare and Tricare do require a referral and generally Worker’s Comp claims will also need a referral or physician on the case. If your condition isn’t improving with treatment or we think another provider is more appropriate for your condition we will let you know that too. Give us a call and we can let you know if you will need a referral or if you can come on in.
Do I need to be injured?
No. Being injured is not a requirement to see a Physical Therapist. We are movement experts, so if you have trouble moving or doing the things you would like to do, come on in for an evaluation. Getting a movement check-up can highlight strength, balance, or mobility deficits you currently have, and can lower the likelihood of a future injury and promote a healthy/active lifestyle.
Will it hurt or what can I expect at my appointments?
Physical Therapy in and of itself is not expected to be painful. It is a phased approach to recovery and depending on what phase you are in, it can involve discomfort and soreness. If pain is increasing with your sessions, please discuss this with the physical therapist so that we can figure out if your sensation is expected or not.
Generally, you can expect your appointments to be 30-60 minutes or longer depending on your condition, needs, and goals. While pain relief is a common goal, physical therapy will help you improve your activity level and function to help you reach your goals. Pain often improves as your function improves.
Do you treat Vertigo, TMJ, Parkinson’s Disease or other uncommon diseases?
Yes. Physical Therapists are able to treat a variety of disorders including Vertigo, TMJ, Parkinson’s Disease. If the disease process involves moving differently, then we can help you with any specific questions about your condition.
Do you specialize in posture, fall risk, gait?
Yes. We are movement experts and if your goal is to improve your posture, balance confidence, or walk or run better, we can help. You will be put through a thorough evaluation in order to decide on an appropriate plan of care to reach your goals.
What is involved in a running analysis?
A running analysis can be used for a variety of reasons. If you would like to improve your running efficiency, if you are starting to run, or are experiencing pain with running, an analysis may be a good way to get started. It will include mobility, strength and balance assessments, footwear assessment, and run gait analysis.
We use Dartfish Motion analysis so we can slow your running down frame by frame to see where you can improve. We will provide suggestions and exercises to help you reach your goals. Sometimes this can start an episode of care or it can be a one-and-done visit depending on your goals and needs.
My Dr. says my injury is healed, why do I have so much pain?
Tissues have a healing time that can last anywhere from 12-24 weeks long depending on the tissue and extent of the injury. Just because you have tissue damage doesn’t mean you will have pain and just because you have pain doesn’t mean you will have tissue damage. Pain is a complex experience with internal and external factors.
After an injury your body may not be functioning to the level that it was before, so your brain will give that area more attention. Sometimes this extra attention will be interpreted as an increase in threat/weakness and in turn be painful. Your brain will sense any change in that area be it temperature, stress, chemical, blood flow, movement and determine if it is threatening or not.
External factors such as what you have heard and what you know or don’t know about the area may influence this sense of threat. If your brain decides that threat outweighs safety in that area, then you will likely have pain.
Physical Therapy will help get to the bottom of all these factors and determine the root cause of the pain and get you functioning as you were prior to your injury in most cases!