What is physical therapy?

Physical Therapists are the experts in movement disorders.  We treat a wide variety of orthopedic and neurological causes of movement dysfunction, including low back pain, osteoporosis, fractures, sprains and strains, and work injuries.

What qualifications does a physical therapist have?

Physical therapists are currently required to obtain an advanced degree from an accredited physical therapy program.  After graduation, they must pass a State board exam to become licensed to practice.  Some therapists may obtain advanced certification in a particular area of practice or specific treatment techniques.

What can I expect on my first visit?

Your first visit with a physical therapist will involve an initial evaluation, where the therapist will collect relevant information regarding your condition, assess your range of motion and strength, and perform various tests to determine what treatment approaches should be utilized to reach your goals.  At that point, the therapist will develop a treatment plan, and may be able to initiate treatment the same day.

What types of treatments do physical therapists provide?

Physical therapists utilize therapeutic exercise, manual (or hands-on) techniques including joint mobilization, electro-therapy, ultrasound, hot packs, and cold packs.  Some therapists may also develop fitness/wellness programs to prevent other injuries and improve overall health.

How do I choose a physical therapist?

Therapists have various levels of experience and specialty areas.  It’s important to learn more about your therapist to ensure he/she is the best therapist to treat your condition.  You have a choice where you go for physical therapy, even if your physician is affiliated with a hospital system. 

Do I have to have a prescription from my physician to attend physical therapy?

In Pennsylvania, you are able to see a therapist without a prescription from your physician, as long as your therapist has a Direct Access certification.  Some insurance providers, such as Medicare, may require you obtain a prescription before starting physical therapy.