Frequently Asked Questions

What happens during my first visit ?

During your first visit you can expect the following :

• Arrive at your appointment early to complete your paperwork
• You will provide us with your prescription for physical therapy.
• We will copy your insurance card.
• You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.

The therapist will discuss the following :

• Your medical history.
• Your current problems/complaints.
• Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
• How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
• Your goals with physical therapy.
• Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.
• The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation, which may include

some of the following:

• 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.
• Range of Motion (ROM) – the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
• 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.
• 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.
• Special Tests – the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.
• 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 with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.

What do I need to bring with me ?

Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor) and your payment information. If you are covered by Workers’ Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager’s contact information. If your insurance company requires the clinic and/or the therapist to fill out some information, bring along the insurance form.

Do I need a doctor's referral ?

With direct access to physiotherapy in Vancouver, a doctor’s referral is not necessary to receive treatments at Downtown Physiotherapy. However, the physiotherapist may suggest that you consult a doctor for their opinion or to get further tests done. Note that some extended health benefit plan insurance companies still require a doctor’s referral for reimbursement of physiotherapy treatments. It is the responsibility of the patient to check their coverage. Both work related accidents and Motor Vehicle accidents do require a doctor’s referral.

How should I dress ?

You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice, and for low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination.

How long will each treatment last ?

Treatment sessions typically last 30 to 60 minutes per visit.

How many visits will I need ?

This is highly variable. You may need one visit or you may need months of care. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc. You will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations.

Who will see me at the clinic ?

You will be evaluated by one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists and he/ she will also treat you during subsequent visits. Unlike some clinics, where you see someone different each visit, we feel it is very important to develop a one-on-one relationship with you to maintain continuity of care. Since only one physical therapist knows your problems best, he/she is the one that will be working closely with you to speed your recovery.

Is my Therapist certified ?

All our therapists are licensed by their respective Provincial or National Association.

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