1 - Why did my doctor prescribe physical therapy?
Many doctors prescribe physical therapy to the patients who are experiencing functional limitations due to pain, weakness, dizziness, numbness/tingling, etc. For example, patients who complain of lower back pain, which makes it difficult for them to work on the computer for long periods of time, play a round of golf, or go for a walk with their spouse, would be recommended for physical therapy as the best way to resolve the symptoms and reach their functional goals.
2 - Do I need to see my doctor before going to physical therapy?
Technically, no. California is a “direct access” state, which means a person can see a physical therapist without going to the doctor. However, there are certain insurance agencies that require their subscribers to get “pre-authorization” before they will pay for physical therapy. Pre-authorization usually requires the patient to see their doctor first, who then submits for authorization to go to physical therapy. The main type of insurance that requires “pre-authorization” is HMO Insurance. Please feel free to give us a call to verify if your type of insurance requires pre-authorization. Our number is 760-205-1500.
3 - Do I need a prescription from my doctor to go to physical therapy?
See previous answer. Unless someone’s insurance requires pre-authorization, they do not need a prescription to begin physical therapy. After their initial visit, the physical therapist will fax the initial evaluation report and “Plan of Care” to their doctor and request a signature. The signed “Plan of Care” is considered a prescription for physical therapy.
4 - Who should do physical therapy? I don’t have any sort of “major” injury, but I am not very flexible and get the occasional “stiffness”.
An individual is a good candidate for physical therapy when they have functional limitations due to pain, weakness, dizziness, poor balance and stability, or numbness/tingling. An individual will not be treated by a physical therapist if there is no medical necessity or functional limitation present or if the therapist is not able to assist with the recovery. In the event that you do not have true functional limitations that would be appropriate for physical therapy, you may be interested in our personal training program. We assess your current physical abilities and limitations, and safely progress you through a mobility and functional strengthening program to manage your stiffness and progress your fitness level to help you achieve your functional goals.
5 - I have never tried physical therapy before and have heard stories of how hard and painful it is. Is that true?
While this can often be true with traditional physical therapy, it is rarely true at G3. One of our core values is to do all we can to make the patient’s experience as pain-free as possible. In addition, another core value is to help our patients be successful from day one and to build upon that success. With that philosophy, physical therapy is rarely hard, difficult, or painful.
6 - Will G3 work with my Dr.?
If needed, we will be in communication with your Doctor before the first visit, after the initial evaluation, and with any progress reports, which usually occurs after 6-10 physical therapy visits.
7 - Do I need any X-rays or an MRI before going to my first physical therapy visit?
No. We do not need any imaging prior to the first visit. If someone has been examined first by a doctor and the doctor requested imaging, it is recommended that we have a copy of the results. However, the physical therapist does not require the results to conduct an initial evaluation. Please also know that a patient’s “Plan of Care” might be influenced by the results of any images, though not necessarily.
8 - What can I expect during my first physical therapy visit at G3?
- The first visit with us is the “initial evaluation”, and it will involve:
The new patient will describe their reason for attending physical therapy, the injury, pain and discomfort, functional limitations, and tell us their goals, etc.
- The physical therapist will conduct various appropriate “objective” measurements, such as, analyze the new patient’s gait, check their range of motion, determine their level of strength, etc.
- The physical therapist will share their evaluation and what they think is occurring with the injury.
- The new patient and physical therapist will develop a “Plan of Care”, which will outline the steps needed to reach the desired functional goals.
- The physical therapist will begin treatment to address the symptoms. Typically, this will consist of some sort of soft tissue work, joint mobilization, and exercise. The new patient will also be given their first series of home exercises, which will also be demonstrated so the new patient understands how to complete them.
- Finally, the new patient and physical therapist will put together a schedule for future visits so that functional goals can be met.
9 - Do you take insurance?
G3 has contracts with all major health insurance PPO plans, Medicare, TriCare, Scripps HMO, and Worker’s Comp carriers. The amount of insurance covered by G3 depends on the patient’s specific physical therapy health plan benefits. While we are happy to pre-verify patient’s insurance benefits before their first visit, we do recommend that the individual knows their own physical therapy health plan benefits. For those with no insurance with physical therapy benefits, we have cash pay programs.
10 - What are G3’s areas of expertise?
G3’s team of Physical Therapy Doctors are experts in all areas of neuro-musculo-skeletal dysfunction. Our unique area of expertise is in Applied Functional Science, which is the study and treatment of neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders and begins with identifying and treating the root biomechanical cause of the problem. Finding the root cause means that you get better & more lasting results, compared to just putting a band-aide on your pain. Some of the most common and successfully treated injuries include: lower back pain, sciatica, si joint pain, neck pain, herniated or slipped discs, shoulder pain, knee pain, foot or ankle pain, elbow pain, hand or wrist pain, shoulder pain, headaches, vertigo or dizziness, general weakness due to muscle atrophy, jaw pain, pelvic pain, incontinence, frozen shoulder, all post-surgical cases, injuries from motor vehicle accidents, whiplash, Parkinson’s, and balance disorders.
11 - What is Applied Functional Science (AFS)?
Applied Functional Science (AFS) is the study and analysis of movement that takes into account that all movement is made up of Biological, Physical, and Behavioral Principles that give rise to movement Strategies and Techniques that dictate all real human movement. It is when the body’s Strategies, and Techniques of movement become dysfunctional (due to poor posture, too much sitting, poor core mobility and strength, or traumatic stress to tissues) that tissues break down, causing pain, weakness, and stiffness. It is through the Principles, Strategies, and Techniques of AFS that we can analyze, diagnose, and treat the underlying causes of tissue pain and movement dysfunction.
12 - What is the appointment cancellation policy?
If the patient cancels at least 24 hours in advance, G3 does not charge a cancellation fee. There are exceptions to this 24 hour policy based upon illness or emergencies.
13 - Should I cancel my appointment if I have a flare up in my symptoms or if I'm sore from a previous physical therapy session?
Definitely not. In fact, a physical therapy session is the best way to help resolve the increased symptoms. Our physical therapists are very skilled at decreasing symptoms, and typically, the session will significantly lower the level of pain or discomfort. Seeing a physical therapist during a time of “flare up” will also help your therapist find the root cause, if you have a complicated case.
14 - How long will my visits last?
A typical physical therapy visit lasts 60 minutes. However, a visit can easily be shortened, if time is an issue for the patient. It is also not uncommon for a patient’s visit to last 75-90 minutes, if indicated, and if the patient has the time and desire.
15 - How often should I come and how long will it take until I notice a change or am done?
In most cases, we ideally like to see the patient 2-3 times per week, for 5-7 weeks. This varies, not only by diagnosis, but by severity, how chronic the problem is, and how consistent you are with your visits and your home exercises. The “typical” plan of care is an average of 12 visits and many patients begin experiencing relief of pain within 1 or 2 visits, though this can vary greatly.
16 - What ages do you work with?
We love working with patients of all ages. It is not uncommon for us to treat a 10 year old with a sports injury or a 85 year old with a knee replacement on the same day.
17 - What is women's health?
Women have special needs during the different reproductive stages of their lives. We may have unique fitness concerns, different nutritional needs, and various pelvic dysfunctions and pains related to hormone changes, pregnancy, and menopause. At G3, our services are focused on returning women back to their active lifestyle without physical limitations of pain and discomfort. We utilize a whole body approach that allows us to find the root cause of the pain, address muscle imbalances, and strengthen beyond our core to get maximal functional results.
18 - How does a physical therapy session look for someone who is pregnant?
These sessions will include lots of gentle stretching and functional strengthening, soft tissue work, and education regarding posture, positioning, and strategy on how to stay limber, strong, and pain free through pregnancy.
19 - Will I be sore after my first visit?
It is definitely our intention for the new patient to experience no soreness. However, there is the occasional session where muscle or joint soreness will occur after the first treatment. This is usually due to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness( DOMS), which is a normal physiological response to loading muscles and joints for the first time in a long while. This pain naturally peaks at about 48 hours post-exercise, and it typically resolves completely within 96 hours or so. Also, please know that occasionally, a patient’s symptoms will flare up after treatment. This can be due to overdoing joint mobilizations, stretching, or strengthening exercises. While this is an uncommon occurrence, the chances of this reoccurring with each visit will decrease with clear and timely communication between the patient and the physical therapist.
20 - What should I wear to physical therapy?
Ideally, wear loose fitting shirts (t-shirts are ideal) with stretching pants or shorts. More importantly, wear what is the most comfortable. Also, athletic shoes tend to be the best footwear option; although “street” shoes are fine, as well.
21 - What equipment does G3 use?
We use relatively little equipment. By far, our most used piece of equipment is the TrueStretch or “cage,” as we affectionately call it. The cage is an essential piece of equipment in practicing Applied Functional Science because it allows our patients to safely assume different positions that mimic forms of weight bearing function (ie. walking, squatting, etc.), and it allows the physical therapy to help mobilize, stretch, and strengthen joints and muscles in functional positions. Like most physical therapy clinics, we also use:
- Tables to perform different mobilization techniques.
- Different healing and symptoms modification modalities, such as gua sha and cupping, which each have their own specialized pieces of equipment.
- For therapeutic exercise equipment, we use specialist equipment, such as bikes, treadmills, and elliptical trainers. However, we also use bodyweight as the main driver of exercise and add dumbbells, medicine balls, bands, boxes, and a vibration plate when indicated.
22 - What kind of equipment will I need?
No particular equipment will be required to do the home exercises. However, many exercises ideally use a dowel, golf club, a step, hand weights, or dumbbells, and the primary need will be an open space, a doorway, or a staircase. We want our exercises to be easy to implement into your home & lifestyle.
23 - What modalities does G3 use?
In addition to joint mobilizations, soft tissue mobilizations, functional manual reaction mobilizations, ice, and heat, our physical therapists are experts in manual traction, cupping, Gua Sha, and Kinesio-taping.
24 - Will you teach me activities that I can do on my own?
Absolutely. In fact, our goal at G3 is to empower and educate our patients so they can ultimately treat themselves. An important aspect of every successful outcome G3 involves a thorough home exercise program that is faithfully executed.
25 - Are your exercise classes different than the ones I could take at my local gym or do online?
If so, how? In addition to improved fitness, our exercise classes consist of exercises focused on injury prevention. Our trainers are well-trained in Applied Functional Science, and every class is cleared with a physical therapist on staff prior to being offered to the public.
26 - Will I be seen by my chosen physical therapist every time I visit?
Yes. The patient will be seen only by their physical therapist for the entirety of every visit. The one-on-one time with the physical therapist will last 30-60 minutes, as indicated. At the conclusion of the one-on-one time, the patient’s exercises will continue to be directly supervised by their physical therapist and assisted by a physical therapy aide.
27 - Am I required to work with the same therapists or do you find it most beneficial to change who I work with?
Depending on the patient’s schedule and physical therapist’s schedule, the patient may work with the physical therapist of their choice, and a patient may change therapists at any time. And while working with the same physical therapists provides the best continuity of care, there can be advantages to seeing different therapists, particularly if the problem is slow to resolve. Even though each therapist has the same training, each has different strengths. Therefore, we often “team teach” to provide each other with opinions and suggestions on the patient’s “Plan of Care”.
28 - What is a PT Aide?
G3 uses physical therapy aides to assist the physical therapists in carrying out the patient’s therapeutic exercise program. Since G3 has an open floor plan, a patient is never outside the direct supervision of their physical therapist, even when working with a physical therapy aide. All of the physical therapy aides at G3 are college graduates who majored in either Exercise Science, Kinesiology, or Pre-Physical Therapy and are currently applying to or participating in a physical therapy doctoral program.
29 - I see that you have a “Wellness Center”. What does it involve?
The G3 Wellness Center provides other modalities to help facilitate health and well-being. We offer on-site massage therapy, acupuncture, nutritional coaching, essential oil education and utilization, personal fitness training, and group fitness training. We believe in healing the whole body, inside and out.
30 - Am I required to participate in the “Wellness Center”?
No. Participation is not required to utilize any of the wellness services offered at G3.
31 - Will the “Wellness Center” be a part of my “normal” physical therapy session?
No. The Wellness Center services are separate and participation is the patient’s choice.
32 - Is the “Wellness Center” extra?
Most wellness services are an extra cost and not typically covered by health insurance.