Frequently Asked Questions
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    What do physical therapists do?

    You have probably heard of the profession of physical therapy. Maybe you have had a conversation with a friend about how physical therapy helped get rid of his or her back pain, or you might know someone who needed physical therapy after an injury. You might even have been treated by a physical therapist yourself. But have you ever wondered about physical therapists–who they are and what they do? Many people are familiar with physical therapists’ work helping patients with orthopedic problems, such as low back pain or knee surgeries, to reduce pain and regain function. Others may be aware of the treatment that physical therapists provide to assist patients recovering from a stroke (e.g., assisting them with recovering use of their limbs and walking again).

    The ability to maintain an upright posture and to move your arms and legs to perform 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 waves to produce heat), hot packs, and ice. Although other kinds of practitioners will offer some of these treatments as “physical therapy,” it’s important for you to know that physical therapy can only be provided by qualified physical therapists or by physical therapist assistants, who must complete a 2- year education program and who work only under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.

    Most forms of physical therapy treatment are covered by your insurance, but the coverage will vary with each plan. Most states do not legally require patients to see their physicians before seeing a physical therapist. Most of the time all you have to do is ask your doctor if physical therapy is right for you. Please delete underlined and change to “In Colorado a prescription is not legally required to see a physical therapist.

    Reference APTA

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    Do I need physical therapy?

    Physical therapy helps individuals move with more ease, enjoy their favorite activities and restore a previous level of function in a healthy and safe manner. By using information obtained in a comprehensive examination, your therapist will establish what strength, flexibility, movement re-training, balance, or sport-specific exercises you may need to become YOUR best you.
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    Do I need to be diagnosed with an injury or have surgery before coming to physical therapy?

    No. Seeing a physical therapist before getting injured is the ideal situation. Come to physical therapy when you feel like you are tight, weak, unable to perform like you would like, or just a check-up to see how you could feel better.
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    Do I need a referral from my primary doctor?

    A referral is not always necessary. It is specific to each individual insurance plan.

    California is a direct access state, meaning you do not need a physician’s referral before seeing a physical therapist. If you choose to pay with cash or your insurance company does not require a physicians referral prior to being seen; we have 45 days or 12 visits before you need to see your physician about the injury in question.

    However, your insurance plan may require you to show a physicians referral before they agree to pay for treatment. It is very important to call your insurance company to determine their requirements and limitations of coverage.

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    What do I wear to my appointments?

    Please come prepared in shorts and a loose fitting t-shirt or tank top to allow freedom of movement and for us to perform our full-body assessments.
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    Can I fill out registration forms on-line before I come to the first appointment?

    – You will be e-mailed a pre-registration form directly after you make your first appointment, that you can submit on-line.
    – You can conveniently complete the rest of your paper work by logging onto our website.
    – If you are unable to access our on-line pre-registration, don’t worry, the forms are available in paper-form when you arrive.
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    How long will each treatment session last?

    We make a commitment to giving each person a 60 minute individualized session.
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    How many physical therapy sessions do I need?

    This is highly variable. Depending on your diagnosis, your previous level of physical activity and how compliant you are to your home program will all help to determine how many physical therapy sessions are right for you.
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    Is physical therapy just stretching?

    No, although we may work to improve your flexibility and joint mobility, you will not be on a treatment table being stretched the entire visit. Get ready to move! Our therapy philosophy is centered around improving function and reducing pain, by changing the way your body moves in a holistic manner. This means that we will be assessing and treating how your whole body moves and feels, including strengthening and sport-specific movement re-education.
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    What’s the difference between sports massage and regular massage?

    A regular, relaxing-type massage is light and superficial. During a sports massage, your therapist is examining body mechanics, and determining which muscles are causing your pain. Your therapist will work out knots and muscle tightness with deeper pressure.
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    What if my insurance is out-of-network with Catalyst?

    That’s no problem. In fact, we have a lot of clients in that boat who utilize our competitively-priced cash pay options. They know the high-quality care we offer at Catalyst will save them money in the long-run, helping them heal sooner, and in the long term.