How We Treat
Physical therapy includes the evaluation and treatment of patients with pain, impairments, functional limitations, disabilities, or changes in physical function or health status resulting from disease, injury, surgery, or other causes.
We treat these patients through physical and mechanical means: that is, through:
- Instruction / education, including functional training with various assistive devices and adaptive equipment
- Posture and body mechanics training (ergonomics, proper sitting and lifting, daily activities)
- Therapeutic exercise
- Hands-on techniques (manual therapy including joint and soft tissue mobilization)
- Balance Activities
- Dry needling
- Various forms of heat and cold
- Modalities (machines that utilize electric current or ultrasound)
- Other mechanical devices such as mechanical traction
- Although we do not prescribe medicine, we can work closely with your physician if medications are indicated.
Our Process For Treatment
The process begins when you develop a problem. Often times you will go to your physician who prescribes physical therapy (PT). His/her office can fax us a prescription, along with your insurance and contact information. We will then call you and schedule your initial appointment. *It is important to note that you have the legal right to go to the physical therapy clinic of your choice.
You can also schedule PT directly, without a physician’s referral. Just call us to make an appointment. [If you have Medicare, you can schedule a visit without a referral as long as you have a physician we can notify who will sign off on our plan of care.]
On your first appointment, we ask you to arrive 15 minutes early to fill out paperwork. When completed, the PT will take you in a treatment room and talk with you about your condition and your goals for PT. He/she will then perform a thorough examination. Afterwards, we discuss with you our findings, our diagnosis, and our plan to help your condition. Often, treatment is started that day, depending on your problems. After the visit is finished, you will schedule your appointments with our front office. We make every effort to work with your schedule to give you the days and times that are most convenient. Usually you will be scheduled for 2-3 times per week, for 3-4 weeks, but this of course can vary greatly depending on your needs (see “common diagnoses and treatment”).
During the course of your treatments, you can plan on being here about 1 hour, but your therapist can be more specific after your first visit. Because we know your time is valuable, you will be seen within 10 minutes of your appointment time. The treatment is modified based on how you respond, and is constantly adjusted to meet your goals.
On your last scheduled visit, we determine whether to continue or discharge. We consider many factors when making this determination.
- Have you met your goals?
- Are you improving at a significant pace?
- Do you still require the skills of a PT?
- Can you continue your rehab and recovery without PT?
We make this determination with your input. If we decide to continue, then we schedule the frequency and duration we think you will need to meet your goals.
If we decide on discharge, we will give you a home program so that you can continue your improvement and maintain your gains. We also offer a Wellness Program where you can continue to exercise independently in our facility for a nominal monthly fee.
Activities of Daily Living (ADL) trainingWe work towards enabling you to perform everyday activities such as dressing, cooking, your mobility, bathroom skills, etc.
Adaptive EquipmentEquipment that makes it easier to perform normal activities, and to compensate for disabilities.
Assistive DevicesVarious types of Walkers, Canes, Crutches.
Balance ActivitiesActivities that challenge your balance, with the assistance of the PT. These are usually done in conjunction with therapeutic exercises.
CryotherapyVarious forms of cold treatment including ice packs, ice massage, and “Spray and Stretch” (for stretching muscles).
Dry NeedlingDry needling is a form of therapy in which fine needles are inserted into myofascial trigger points (painful knots in muscles), tendons, ligaments, or near nerves in order to stimulate a healing response in painful musculoskeletal conditions. Dry needling is not acupuncture or Oriental Medicine; that is, it does not have the purpose of altering the flow of energy ("Qi") along traditional Chinese meridians for the treatment of diseases. ln fact, dry needling is a modern, science-based intervention for the treatment of pain and dysfunction in musculoskeletal conditions such as neck pain, shoulder impingement, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, knee pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or low-back pain.
Electric StimulationA device that uses electric current to reduce pain and inflammation.
EvaluationIncludes an examination (history and physical examination), and clinical jusdgements of the PT based on the data obtained from the examination.
Fine motor TrainingWorking on small coordinated movements like picking up small objects or buttoning your clothing.
Gait trainingTeaching you how to walk or run normally, or with assistive devices.
Hydrocollator PacksMoist heat packs.
Instruction / EducationsOn the initial visit, we explain all of our findings, and show you exactly what is going on using models, pictures, and demonstrations. We instruct you as to activity modification, ergonomics, correct posture and body mechanics, and exercises you can perform at home to speed your recovery. You are discharged wth a home exercise program (HEP) to continue your recovery.
IontophoresisA device that uses electrical current to drive medication through the skin in lieu of an injection.
Manual TherapyA broad term that includes hand-on treatments such as joint and soft tissue mobilization.
MobilizationHands-on techniques that move a joint or soft tissue (skin, muscle, fascia) in a way the patient is unable to move, which decreases pain and/or inflammation, and increases movement and allows the muscles to operate more efficiently.
ModalitiesA group of devices using various forms of energy such as ultrasound, heat, cold, and electricity.
Neuromuscular Electrical StimulationA device that uses electrical current to increase muscle strength and to retrain and facilitate muscle contraction.
Neuromuscular TechniquesCertain exercises and techniques use to facilitate or inhibit certain muscle groups.
OrthoticsSplints, braces, and inserts including custom made foot shoe orthotics.
Physical Therapist (PT)Professionals educated at the accredited college or university level, who are required to pass the state board exam and to be licensed in the state in which they practice. They are trained in patient evaluation and treatment.
Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA)Personnel educated at an accredited associate degree level, who are required to pass the state board exam and to be licensed in the state in which they practice. Their training is primarily in patient treatment methods and techniques, and operates under the supervision of a Physical Therapist.
Physical Therapy Technician (PT Tech)Other personnel that assist the PT and PTA is certain direct and indirect aspects of patient care.
Plan of Care (POC)This is our general plan for your treatment, and includes treatment options, goals, and the frequency / duration. The POC is merely a guideline because your treatment is adjusted as needed to meet your goals.
Propriocetion ActivitiesProprioception is position sense, or knowing where parts of your body are in space. If you close your eyes and position your arm in a certain way, you know where your arm is without looking. Proprioception is often adversely affected, which can cause other problems such as joints moving incorrectly, poor reaction time and re-injury. This is a critical component of balance.
Prosthetic trainingTeaching amputees how to use their prosthesis.
Stabilization ExercisesExercises to stabilize a particular area of the body (usually the shoulder or spine) to control unwanted or uncontrolled joint movement, thereby decreasing pain.
Therapeutic ExerciseExercises specific to your particular condition. They can include exercises to increase strength and/or motion, endurance, aerobic conditioning, to facilitate or inhibit certain muscle groups and improve joint mechanics and coordination. Various equipment is used including elastic, weight machines, free weights, manual resistance or assistance, elliptical trainers, treadmills, bikes, seated steppers, etc. We begin with very light exercise, and progress per your tolerance and response.
Traction, MechanicalA pneumatic device that applies traction to your neck.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)A portable device that uses electric current to control pain.
UltrasoundA device that used sound waves to heat deep tissue and to decrease swelling and pain.
Common Diagnosis & Treatment
Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 4-6 weeks Treatment: Modalities to control pain and swelling, joint mobilizations and stretching to restore motion, specific strengthening exercises, and proprioceptive activities for proper joint mechanics and balance.
Back and neck pain
Including: sprain / strain, whiplash, arthritis, degeneration, spurs, bulging or herniated disks, stenosis, weakness, post surgery Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 2-8 weeks Treatment: Initially modalities, soft tissue and joint mobilization, and light movements to decrease pain. Then as the pain subsides, we progress to more specific exercises, based on your diagnosis and response to treatment, to increase motion, strength, and proprioception. Activity modification, correct posture, lifting, and general body mechanics, core strengthening and stabilization are emphasized.
Difficulty with balance or walking
Including: due to inactivity or specific conditions that affect balance or walking Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 4-8 weeks Treatment: Stretching tight tissue and strengthening specific muscles that are found to be limited and that are important for balance. You are challenged with particular balance activities, under close supervision, to increase reaction time. You are given a few simple exercises to perform at home to support what we do in the clinic.
Hip pain / dysfunction / post-operative
Including: sprain / strain, arthritis, bursitis, swelling, degeneration, tendonitis, total and partial hip replacements. Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 2-4 weeks Treatment: Modalities to control pain, joint mobilizations and stretching to restore motion, specific strengthening and stabilization exercises, and proprioceptive activities for proper joint mechanics and balance
Knee pain / dysfunction
Including: sprain / strain, arthritis, bursitis, swelling, degeneration, tendonitis, various tears, patello-femoral syndrome, meniscal tears Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 2-4 weeks Treatment: Modalities to control pain, joint mobilizations and stretching to restore motion, specific strengthening and stabilization exercises, and proprioceptive activities for proper joint mechanics and balance.
Including: ACL reconstruction, meniscal repairs, debridements, knee replacements Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 4-12 weeks Treatment: Modalities to control pain, joint mobilizations, range of motion and stretching to restore motion, specific strengthening and stabilization exercises, and proprioceptive activities for proper joint mechanics and balance. When applicable, we work within your surgeon’s protocol to ensure a positive outcome.
Shoulder pain / dysfunction
Including: including sprain / strain, arthritis, bursitis, degeneration, rotator cuff tendonitis, impingement syndrome, various tears, frozen shoulder, dislocations. Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 4-8 weeks Treatment: Modalities to control pain, joint mobilizations and stretching to restore motion, specific strengthening and stabilization exercises, and proprioceptive activities for proper joint mechanics.
Including: rotator cuff repairs, shoulder replacements, debridements, labral repairs Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 4-12 weeks Treatment: Modalities to control pain, joint mobilizations, range of motion and stretching to restore motion, specific strengthening and stabilization exercises, and proprioceptive activities for proper joint mechanics and balance. When applicable, we work within your surgeon’s protocol to make ensure a positive outcome
Frequency: 2-3 times per week for 4-12 weeks Treatment: We work on all of the limitations identified on your evaluation, including stiffness, weakness, difficulty with mobility and walking and balance, increased or decreased tone / spasticity, and motor skills and coordination. If a device such as a cane or walker is required, we teach you to use it and eventually try to wean you off of it, if appropriate. We suggest other equipment or devices to make you more independent.