21st Century Rehab | FAQ's

Can I choose what physical therapist I go to?

Absolutely! The decision of where you receive treatment is yours. If you have a specific therapist or practice you would like to go to, you should let your doctor or insurance company know this. Not all physical therapists or practices are the same and the choice of your provider is yours. Sometimes your physician will recommend a specific therapist or practice to you; sometimes your insurance company will require you to go to specific therapists or practices. You always have the right to ask for a specific provider. If we are not "in network" with your specific insurance company, many have out of network options that still provide coverage.

What should I expect during my physical therapy treatments?

Your first visit will include the initial evaluation and then a treatment. You will be instructed on therapeutic exercises, learn how to manage and care for your symptoms, receive manual therapy if necessary, and may be treated with some type of therapeutic modalities. (As well as given a specific home program, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction, etc.)

What type of treatment will I receive?

Treatment is based on the initial evaluation findings along with ongoing reassessment and evaluation. Treatment may consist of a variety of hands-on joint and soft tissue treatment techniques, exercise techniques and pain reducing modalities. Treatments are designed to increase motion and strength, reduce pain, and most importantly, restore function. Patients are typically involved in an active exercise program at home and are educated in ways to speed recovery and prevent recurrence of the problem.

What should I wear?

It is best to wear clothing and shoes that are appropriate for exercise. The clothing should either expose the area (i.e. wear shorts if you are being seen for a knee problem) or be loose fitting to easily expose the area that is being treated. You may be asked to put on a gown depending on where your pain or problem is located.

How many treatments will I need?

Our average number of treatments is 6, but this can vary depending on the extent and type of injury that is being treated.

What is Physical Therapy? Is it like Massage Therapy or Chiropractic Care?

In reference to massage therapy, a PT can and will often administer massage-like techniques called soft tissue mobilization, but massage therapists cannot administer PT. The PT you receive therefore may include soft tissue mobilization but will include much more education, exercise and the use of other modalities.

Chiropractic care differs quite a bit in the sense that a Chiropractor relies heavily on performing joint manipulations. Chiropractors typically will see a patient for much longer than a physical therapist for continued joint manipulations or "adjustments" whereas a physical therapist will rehab the injury or painful area and then instruct the patient in a Home Exercise Program for continued care. A physical therapist with specialized training can effectively perform many of the physical adjustments that a Chiropractor utilizes.

How can Physical Therapy help back pain?

Physical Therapy helps control back pain by reducing pain, controlling swelling and through therapeutic exercises. Patient education such as home exercises and lifting techniques also play a large role is assisting the patient in controlling low back pain.

I just had orthopedic surgery; will physical therapy help me heal faster?

Of Course! Physical Therapy can help reduce swelling, increase active and passive range of motion and increase strength and endurance after orthopedic surgery. Most importantly, attending physical therapy increases the functioning of the involved muscles, bones and other soft tissues much more quickly and effectively than just "staying at home" after surgery.

How do I know that physical therapy can help me?

Physical therapy can help anyone who is suffering from musculoskeletal injuries, recovering from surgeries or other difficulties such as balance/walking problems, or neurological problems such as stroke and acquired brain injuries. Even people recovering from non-orthopedic surgeries (internal problems, cancer) can benefit from PT by regaining strength and endurance. The realm of physical therapy is huge and encompasses the whole body and its functioning. To learn how PT can specifically help your condition, make an appointment with any of our locations for a Free Assessment.

Do I need a referral to come to physical therapy?

In the state of Iowa, a referral from a physician is not required to receive a physical therapy evaluation or treatment. Some exceptions do occur. Medicare always requires a referral to obtain physical therapy services. This referral may come from a physician, a physician assistant, a nurse practitioner, a dentist or a podiatrist. In addition, some insurance companies require a referral to provide insurance coverage. You should call your insurance company to determine whether or not you are required to have a referral for coverage.

What does a physical therapist do?

Physical therapists are experts trained in the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal dysfunction. They are trained specifically to improve movement and function, relieve pain, and expand movement potential. Physical therapy is often the treatment of choice in situations where pain impairs function, in recovering from an injury or surgery, and in recovering from a disease process or illness. Physical therapists also teach adaptive and physical coping skills in dealing with impaired function from a disease, injury or illness.

Will my insurance cover physical therapy?

Most insurance companies do cover physical therapy services. The amount and type of coverage varies. It is always best to check with your insurance company regarding specific coverage guidelines. The staff at each location will also verify your specific coverage guidelines at your first visit. If you do not wish to utilize your insurance, you may choose our private pay plan. We accept checks, VISA and MasterCard.

As a patient, what can I do to assure the best possible outcome?

First, recognize that you play the most important role in your own recovery. We encourage patients to act as full partners with their therapist in the treatment process. Comply with your in-clinic therapy schedule; follow through on your home exercise programs; and communicate often and completely with your therapist regarding any problems or concerns you may experience. Physical therapy is an active process that requires your full commitment and interaction with your therapist. Ask questions and be receptive to suggestions regarding exercise, lifestyle changes and adjustments or modifications of your daily activities.

Why should I go to physical therapy, can't I get better on my own?

  1. Physical therapists are trained to identify the movement dysfunction and compensation changes related to your diagnosis.
  2. We rehabilitate an injury with the correct movement patterns in place of faulty habits.
  3. We educate you about what your injury does to your body and how to correct it
  4. We teach you how to prevent further injuries