1. Your medical history
2. Your current problems/complaints
3. Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem
4. How your symptoms are impacting your daily activities, recreational pursuits and/or work ability
5. Your goals with physical therapy
6. Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health
– The therapist will then perform the objective examination 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 from input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.
The ability to maintain an upright posture and to involve your arms and legs in all sorts of tasks and activities is an important component of your health. Most of us can learn to live with the various medical conditions that we may develop, but only if we are able to continue at our jobs, take care of our families, and enjoy important occasions with family and friends. All of these activities require the ability to move without difficulty or pain.
Because physical therapists are experts in movement and function, they do not confine their talents to treating people who are ill. A large part of a physical therapist’s program is directed at preventing injury, loss of movement, and even surgery. Physical therapists work as consultants in industrial settings to improve the design of the workplace and reduce the risk of workers overusing certain muscles or developing low back pain. They also provide services to athletes at all levels to screen for potential problems and institute preventive exercise programs. With the boom in the golf and fitness industries, a number of physical therapists are engaged in consulting with recreational golfers and fitness clubs to develop workouts that are safe and effective, especially for people who already know that they have a problem with their joints or their backs.
The cornerstones of physical therapy treatment are therapeutic exercise and functional training. In addition to “hands-on” care, physical therapists also educate patients to take care of themselves and to perform certain exercises on their own. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may also “mobilize” a joint (that is, perform certain types of movements at the end of your range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists also use methods such as ultrasound (which uses high frequency sound waves to produce heat), hot packs, and ice. Although other kinds of practitioners offer some of these treatments as ‘physical therapy”, it’s important for you to know that physical therapy can only be provided by a qualified physical therapist or physical therapist assistant under the direction of a physical therapist. Physical therapist assistants must complete a 2 year college education program and pass a state licensure examination.
Most forms of physical therapy treatment are covered by your insurance, but the coverage will vary with each plan. Most states do not require patients to see their physicians before seeing a physical therapist.
Another study indicates that licensed and non-licensed therapy providers spend less time with each patient in physician owned clinics, and that physical therapy assistants are substituted for physical therapists. (2)
We believe that we can provide you with the highest quality of care available and do it in a cost effective manner. (3) You will work closely with your physical therapist and in most instances, will be managed by the same physical therapist from beginning to end.
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. Federal Office of the Inspector General May 1, 2006 – this report calls into question billing processes done by non-physical therapist owned practices.
Also unique to the Wellness Center are the Nu-Step brand recumbent cross trainers. From a comfortable sitting position clients simulate a natural walking motion while eliminating undesirable joint stress. The ergonomic design accommodates nearly every body type and size, utilizes a swivel seat for ease of transfer, and has been endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation for ease of use and joint safety.
Exercise and personalized training aside, the Stoneking Wellness Center is committed to the community through the provision of regularly scheduled free health awareness and prevention seminars. The subject matter is varied and includes Healthy Bones Osteoporosis lectures, nutritional label reading education, and first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes for lay people to name just a few. Even when socializing our events have educational value as evidenced by the recent Cystic Fibrosis Benefit walk and our regular healthy cooking classes with gym member and chef Jim Hamilton of Hamilton’s Grill.