Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your First Visit Video

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What happens during my first visit?

During your first visit you can expect the following:

  • Arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed 15 minutes early.
  • We will copy your drivers license and insurance card if you are using insurance.
  • You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.
  • The therapist will discuss the following:

    1. Your medical history.
    2. Your current problems/complaints.
    3. Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
    4. How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
    5. Your goals with physical therapy.
    6. Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.
  • The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:

    1. Palpation - touching around the area of the pain/problem. This is done to check for the presence of tenderness, swelling, soft tissue integrity, tissue temperature, inflammation, etc.
    2. Range of Motion (ROM) - the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
    3. Muscle Testing - the therapist may check for strength and the quality of the muscle contraction. Pain and weakness may be noted. Often the muscle strength is graded. This is also part of a neurological screening.
    4. Neurological Screening - the therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, sensing touch, pain, vibration, or temperature. Reflexes may be assessed as well.
    5. Special Tests - the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.
    6. Posture Assessment - the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.

The therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and how to treat those problems. A plan is subsequently developed with the patient's input. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy. This plan is created with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.

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What do I need to bring with me?
Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor) and your insurance information if you are using insurance. If you are covered by Workers' Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager's contact information. If you are covered by auto insurance, make sure you bring this information as well. If you have had any imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc, please bring copies of the written reports.
How should I dress?

You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice, and for low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination.

How long will each treatment last?
Treatment sessions typically last 50-55 minutes per visit but your first appointment may be slightly longer.
How many visits will I need?
This is highly variable. You may need one visit or you may need months of care. It depends on the severity of your condition, how well your body responds to our treatments, your past medical history, etc. Everyone is different and unique. You will be re-assessed on every visit to determine if you are continuing to get better and how your treatment needs to be modified to get you better as fast as we can.
Why is physical therapy a good choice?
More than half of all Americans are suffering from pain. Whether it is a recent episode or a chronic problem, an ABC News/Stanford study revealed that pain in America is a serious problem. Unfortunately, many Americans have been given powerful medications for their pain instead of getting real treatment to treat the CAUSE of their pain. This has lead to the current opiate epidemic resulting in unnecessary deaths across the country. Physical therapists are experts at treating pain, movement and neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Because pain often accompanies a movement disorder where joints and muscles don't move right, physical therapists can help correct the disorder and relieve the pain. However, many do not even know that physical therapists are well equipped to not only treat pain but also its source.
Why are people referred to physical therapy?
You and others may be referred to physical therapy because of a movement dysfunction associated with pain. Your difficulty with moving part(s) of your body (like bending at the low back or difficulty sleeping on your shoulder, etc.) very likely results in limitations with your daily activities (e.g., difficulty getting out of a chair, an inability to play sports, or trouble with walking, etc.). Physical therapists treat these movement dysfunctions and their associated pains and restore your body's ability to move in a normal manner.
Why should I choose a private practice physical therapist?

Who is better to see, a PT that works for a physician or a PT that owns a private practice? We leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions but here are some facts. The studies indicate there were more treatments (visits per patient were 39% to 45% higher in physician owned clinics) and the cost was greater for those patients that attended a physician owned physical therapy practice (both gross and net revenue per patient were 30% to 40% higher)1.

Another study indicated that licensed and non-licensed therapy providers spent less time with each patient in physician owned clinics and physical therapy assistants were substituted for physical therapists.2

Another older study concluded that "Therapists who had treated patients through direct access were significantly more likely to believe that direct access had benefited them professionally and benefited their patients than were therapists who had not practiced through direct access."3

We believe that we can provide you with the highest quality of care available and do it in a cost-effective manner.4 You will work closely with your physical therapist and in most instances, your case will be managed by the same physical therapist from the beginning to the end of your experience with us.

  1. Mitchell, J., Scott, E., Physician Ownership of Physical Therapy Services: Effects on Charges, Utilization, Profits, and Service Characteristics, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992.
  2. "Joint Ventures Among Health Care Providers in Florida," State of Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board, 1991.
  3. Domholdt E, Durchholz AG. Direct access use by experienced therapists in states with direct access. Phys Ther. 1992 Aug;72(8):569-74.
  4. Federal Office of the Inspector General May 1, 2006 - This report calls into question billing processes done by non-physical therapist owned practices.
Who will see me?
You will be evaluated by one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists and he/she will also treat you during subsequent visits. Unlike some clinics, where you may have a Physical Therapist aid or assistant provide some or all of your treatment, we feel it is very important that in our practice you only see a Physical Therapist to provide high quality Manual Physical Therapy treatment.
Is physical therapy painful?

Change this section to read: For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is usually accomplished with hands-on Manual Therapy techniques, and maybe some heat or cold therapy that you can do at home if your pain is really acute and severe. Hands-on Manual Therapy often provides pain relief by getting tight and stiff joints/muscles to move better. When this happens, your body doesn't produce inflammation and you have less pain. Your Physical Therapist will also provide you with the appropriate exercises, not only for pain relief, but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.

In some cases, Physical Therapy techniques can be uncomfortable. It is our goal to make the changes in your body with Hands-on Manual Therapy techniques with as little discomfort as possible. Treatment doesn't have to hurt. In some cases, you may be sore for a day or two after treatment, not because your treatment was painful or rough, but because your body is now moving and working differently so that your muscles have to get used to the new mobility. This will pass fairly quickly and the mobility you gained will stay and relieve your pain.

Your Physical Therapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize your treatment goals. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of discomfort to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your future treatments

Will I get a massage at physical therapy?
Massage is a good treatment technique for some conditions and may give people in pain some benefit. At Manual Edge, during our decades of experience, we have found that our specific Manual Therapy techniques are much more effective in providing you the lasting changes in joint and soft tissue mobility that control your muscles. When we do this, your muscles will soften, relax and not be painful.
What happens if my problem or pain returns?
Flare ups are not uncommon. If you have a flare up (exacerbation), give us a call. Flare ups are usually tied to a changes in your activity level or an additional trauma like a fall, strain, etc. We may suggest you come back to see us so we can see what is happening with your body to cause your pain increase. Sometimes a few suggestions for you to modify your activities is all that is needed. In other cases, additional treatment may be necessary.
Can I go to any physical therapy clinic?

In most cases, you have the right to choose any physical therapy clinic. Our practice is a provider for many different insurance plans.

The best thing to do is give us a call and we will attempt to answer all of your questions.

Can I go directly to my physical therapist?
Yes, you do not require a doctors visit or referral to see us. In Colorado, we have direct access to Physical Therapy which means you can come to see us directly. Physical Therapists in Colorado can also order X-rays and MRIs. In most cases, if you are not making significant improvement within 30 days, the therapist will refer you to/back to your physician. Seeing a Physical Therapist first is safe and could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
How does the billing process work?

Billing for physical therapy services is similar to what happens at your doctor's office. When you are seen for treatment, the following occurs:

  1. The Physical Therapist bills your insurance company, Workers' Comp, auto insurance, or charges you based on Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes.
  2. Those codes are transferred electronically to our billing service if you are using insurance. If you are not using insurance, payment via cash, check or credit card is expected at the time of service.
  3. The billing service sends a billing form by mail or electronically to the insurance company.
  4. The insurance company processes this information and makes payments according to an agreed upon fee schedule with Manual Edge.
  5. An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is generated and sent to you and Manual Edge with a check for payment and a balance due by the patient.
  6. If you have a balance indicated on your EOB, after your insurance issues payment, you are expected to make the balance payment by cash, check or credit card.
  7. If you have a co-pay, payment at the time of service can be completed by cash, check or credit card.

It is important to understand that there are many small steps (beyond the outline provided above) within the process. Exceptions to the example above are common as well. At any time along the way, information may be missing, miscommunicated, or misunderstood. This can delay the payment process. While it is common for the payment process to be completed in 60 days or less, it is not uncommon for us to receive payment as long as six months after the treatment date.

What will I have to do after physical therapy?
Most patients need to continue with their home exercise program after therapy to make sure that they continue to do well into the future. Taking care of your body with some exercise is like brushing your teeth, it is best for you to do daily so you continue to do well. Some patients may choose to continue to care for their body with a gym, Pilates, or yoga exercise program. It is important that you communicate your goals to your therapist, so he/she can develop a custom program for you. We have several resources with gyms, Pilates studios, etc that we can help you with.
Is my therapist licensed?
Yes, your Physical Therapist is licensed in the state of Colorado to practice Physical Therapy.
How do I choose a physical therapy clinic?

These are some things you may consider when seeking a Physical Therapy clinic:

  • The most important question to ask is "How long will my Physical Therapist spend with me during each visit?" If it is less than 45 minutes, you should find a different clinic. To really get to the cause of your pain, change your body, and not just mask your symptoms it requires one on one time with your therapist.
  • Your treatment should be provided by a Physical Therapist. You should not be treated by Physical Therapist assistants, aids, or technicians if you want the best result from your treatment.
  • Your Physical Therapist should be licensed in Colorado.
  • Your Physical Therapist should be actively pursing advanced training to constantly get better at providing you the best treatment results.
  • Your first visit should include a thorough medical history and physical examination.
  • Your goals should be discussed in detail during the first visit.
  • Your treatment should include a variety of hands-on Manual Therapy techniques to return your body to it's optimal mechanical and pain free function.
  • Your therapist should answer all of your questions and provide resources for you to care for your body.
What is your privacy policy?
Our privacy policy can be read here: