If you have been told you should seek physical therapy for an injury or illness you’re trying to recover from, you likely have questions. You’re not alone. As a trusted physical therapy provider – including those who practice at MidAtlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic– can confirm, many people put off the physical therapy process because they either feel anxious about undertaking this new challenge or they aren’t sure if their injuries are significant enough to warrant the time that they would need to invest in PT. It’s important not to avoid physical therapy if you need this kind of medical assistance. Instead, seek answers to any questions or concerns that you may have. Providers are happy to answer questions before you begin treatment. 

The following are some common questions and answers new patients often have.

What Happens at Physical Therapy?

Every physical therapy patient will have a unique course of treatment because everyone’s issues are different. One might go in for a sore back, while another might be recovering from ankle surgery. In any case, physical therapists work to get function and strength back to the area that has been affected by injury. Through gentle, sometimes challenging exercises and other techniques, the practitioner and patient work on the injured part of the body until healing occurs. Some physical therapists go beyond physical movement to include massage therapy, ultrasound, ice, hot packs, and other treatment methods.

Can My Physical Therapist Diagnose Me?

While a physical therapist can make a suggestion as to what you might be dealing with, therapists don’t typically diagnose health conditions. In some states, they are not legally able to make a diagnosis, and in others, they often just leave the diagnostic process to medical doctors. If you don’t already have a diagnosis, your physical therapist might recommend that you go see a medical doctor first. Working together, both your doctor and therapist will be important members of your recovery team.

How Long Will Therapy Take?

Because physical therapy is so unique to each patient, there is no brightline for how long you would have to attend sessions. At your first appointment, your physical therapist can set a course of action that could include a length of time. This might be three weeks or three months. After that certain period of time, you will reassess the situation with your therapist to determine whether you should continue therapy or maintain your health at home.

What Does Physical Therapy Cost?

Physical therapists all charge differently based on geography, education and a variety of other factors. If you’re concerned about the cost of treatment, that’s something you should speak to the therapist about during your initial assessment. Many patients find that there treatment is covered by their medical insurance provider.