Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a prescription for Physical Therapy?

The State of Maryland does not require a prescription for physical therapy.  However, sometimes a referral from your doctor may be required, depending on an individual insurance policy.  Regardless, we always appreciate and welcome your doctor’s referral even if it is not needed for formal coverage/insurance reimbursement.

What is Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical and scientific base and widespread clinical applications in the restoration, maintenance, and promotion of optimal physical function.

Physical therapists:

  • Diagnose and manage movement dysfunction and enhance physical and functional abilities.
  • Restore, maintain, and promote not only optimal physical function but optimal wellness and fitness and optimal quality of life as it relates to movement and health.
  • Prevent the onset, symptoms, and progression of impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities that may result from diseases, disorders, conditions, or injuries.

Physical therapists engage in an examination process that includes taking client history, conducting systems review, and performing tests and measures to identify potential and existing problems.  To establish a diagnosis, prognosis and plan of care, physical therapists perform evaluations, synthesizing the examination data and determining whether the problems to be addressed are within the scope of physical therapist practice. Based on their judgments about diagnosis, prognosis and based on client goals, physical therapists provide interventions, conduct reexaminations, modify interventions as necessary to achieve anticipated goals and expected outcomes and develop and implement discharge plans.

What is MANUAL Physical Therapy?

Manual therapy techniques are skilled hand movements intended to improve tissue extensibility, increase range of motion, induce relaxation, mobilize or manipulate soft tissue and joints, modulate pain, and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction.  Another important aspect of a physical therapist with manual therapy training is that they have excellent clinical reasoning skills.  Meaning they are able to get to the root cause of a problem and make connections how other issues in the body may be contributing to the symptoms or limitations.

Manual Therapy procedures include:

  • Joint Mobilization / Manipulation
  • Dry Needling
  • Functional Mobilization
  • Neural Mobilization
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • Myofascial Release
  • Friction Massage
  • Passive Range of Motion
  • Manual Traction

Where can I find out more information about physical therapy?

Please visit  www.MoveForwardPT.com and www.APTA.org.

Who chooses which physical therapist I go to?

The physical therapy provider you seek is ultimately your decision.  You may see any physical therapist you choose, although many people get a recommendation from their physician or insurance company (in-network providers) and many of our clients are referred to us by the client's family and friends.

How do I arrange an appointment?

Please call us at 301-231-0095 to make your first appointment or use our online Request an Appointment form. In the state of Virginia, you may receive a one time evaluation without a prescription, but will need to obtain one for treatment.  Your insurance coverage for an initial evaluation without a prescription is dependent upon your insurance plan.

What is my responsibility in physical therapy?

The client and physical therapist relationship is a partnership. You will be asked to be an active participant in learning new ways of moving your body and following through with a home program.  In order to expedite your recovery, it is necessary to correct painful movements and postures, which will require awareness and persistence.

What should I bring?

Please bring your insurance card, and any paperwork that you downloaded from our website or forms that may have been sent to you, and a form of identification. Also, any operative reports, MRI or X-ray results, or doctors prescription (if you have one, but not required in the State of Maryland).

What should I expect on my first visit?

On your first visit, your physical therapist will perform an examination/evaluation to determine what deficits and/or problems you have that can be addressed with physical therapy.

The initial evaluation includes:

  • A thorough history through a detailed interview, systems review, and tests and measures that allow the physical therapist to get an understanding of your condition. Your physical therapist will make a clinical judgment as to your diagnosis and prognosis and a treatment plan will be developed aimed at resolving the problems identified as well as to achieve the goals you and your physical therapist determine together.

What types of interventions may I receive?

Your treatment is dependent upon your condition and determined by your physical therapist and physician.  Treatment may include any/all of the following interventions:

Education on your condition, self-management strategies and a home exercise instruction.

Procedural interventions:

  • Manual therapy
  • Dry needling
  • Therapeutic exercise/corrective exercise: emphasizing correcting imbalances
  • Functional training (home, work, activities of daily living)
  • Movement retraining
  • Postural training
  • Sport performance
  • Neuromuscular re-education
  • Prescription/application of equipment
  • Physical Agents and modalities (heat, cold, electrical stimulation, laser, ultrasound)
  • Coordination, communication, and documentation

How long is a physical therapy evaluation and treatment session?

At ISSA Physical Therapy, Initial Evaluations are 60 minute and treatment sessions range from 30-60 minutes.  We also offer a free 30 Minute Discovery Visit with a Physical Therapist prior to an initial evaluation to ensure we are the right fit for you and your specific problem.

How long do I attend physical therapy?

It depends on several factors: severity of your injury or problem, existence of multiple conditions or problems, your dedication and active participation in doing your part, and ultimately how far you wish to go with your goals.  Our goal is to not only to eliminate your pain but to empower you with information and knowledge so that you can take care of your body, reduce the likelihood of your pain returning, getting you back to doing what you love, and even daring you to do what you dream of.

What if I have an increase in symptoms?

If you have increased symptoms please call your physical therapist. When you call the office, please be sure you explain to the office staff that you are having an increase in symptoms and you would like to speak with your physical therapist.  Your physical therapist or covering therapist will give you a call back that same day.

What should I wear to my physical therapy appointments?

In general, wear comfortable clothing.   If you are presenting with a problem of your cervical spine, upper back or shoulders, a tank top or sports bra is recommended. Shorts are recommended for spine, hip, knee, or foot problems.  Please bring your own clothing if you would like or you may use clothing that we provide.

What if I need to return to physical therapy?

If you are discharged from physical therapy and feel the need to return, you should contact the physical therapist who treated you. He or she will consult with you to determine a course of action.

Should I ask my doctor about physical therapy?

Absolutely.  We recommend inquiring about any conditions that could benefit from physical therapy with your physician.  You may also call us to discuss your problem and potential benefits of our services.

To inquire about Cost & Availability, please call our office at 301-231-0095 or use our Inquire about Cost & Availability online form. For any additional questions about a condition, treatment or procedure; please fill out our Talk to a PT online form.

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