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My Doctor Recommended Physical Therapy, Now What?

My Doctor Recommended Physical Therapy, Now What?

by Brandon Bowers, PT, DPT, Astym Cert.1 Comment

Physical therapy is a comprehensive treatment option performed by physical therapists and physical therapy assistants to address pain and functional limitation. There are many physicians and other health care providers who recommend physical therapy to their patients, but what happens after this recommendation is made? How do I choose a good physical therapist? How soon can physical therapy begin? Look no further, answers to all of these questions can be found right here.

Leaving Your Physician’s Office

At the end of an appointment with your physician or other healthcare specialist, they may recommend physical therapy to address your pain or functional limitation. This usually is accompanied by a referral or a script the physician’s office will give you before you leave their office. This piece of paper may contain information about you, your diagnosis as well as physical therapy recommendations for treatment.

In several states, a prescription is not required before seeing a physical therapist. This means, you have direct access to physical therapy, without the need for a referral or prescription from your physician.

How Do I Find a Physical Therapist?

Once you leave your physician’s office, your next step is to do your research! When it comes to picking a physical therapist, you can:

  • Ask your doctor if he/she has a therapist they would refer you to. Overtime, doctors may have established a list of go-to clinicians that have consistently good patient outcomes.
  • Talk to family, friends, neighbors or coworkers. Lots of people attend PT at some point during their life and they may have had a great experience. This is a great way to find an expert near you.
  • Hop online and search. Head to the Athletico website where you can search by specific location, specialty technique and language. This search feature will provide you with the address and phone number for the Athletico clinic closest to you where you can call with any questions.

Scheduling Your Appointment & Verifying Insurance

Visiting the Athletico website will give you the ability to request an appointment online. Once an online request has been submitted or you call the clinic, one of our team members will contact you to gather additional information about your diagnosis, background information and health insurance. Be sure to have your insurance card available so you can provide our team with necessary insurance information needed to verify your insurance benefits. Athletico will contact your insurance provider to determine your insurance coverage i.e. deductibles, copays and visit limits. It is recommended you contact your insurance carrier as well to verify your benefits. Next, our team will help you identify a day and time to have your initial evaluation. Typically, initial evaluations occur within 24-48 hours of your request. Once your evaluation day/time is agreed upon, our team will email you your patient intake paperwork which should be completed prior to arrival for your evaluation. If you don’t have a way to print the paperwork at home, you can always arrive 15 minutes prior to your evaluation to complete it so your appointment can start on time.

If your physician or health care specialist already has a relationship with Athletico they may fax your referral directly to one of our clinics to get your plan of care started. If this is the case, an Athletico representative will give you a call and follow the same sequence of information collection and scheduling listed above.

Know Before You Go

When arriving for your first physical therapy appointment, it is important to wear comfortable clothing that is easy to move in. Be sure to bring your patient paperwork, physician referral if you have one, and list of any medications you may be taking. Expect the initial evaluation to last one hour with a physical therapist during which they will learn more about your pain and/or functional limitation through your history and a physical assessment. From here our team will provide you with information about your pain and work with you to develop a plan to address your limitations. It is a group effort to help you reach your personal and physical therapy goals and to achieve a higher functional level with less pain. At the end of the evaluation, our physical therapist will make a recommendation for how often treatment sessions should occur in order to get you feeling better.

Athletico makes initiating a physical therapy plan of care easy and our team is eager to help you get rid of your pain or discomfort and get on with living a higher quality of life. If you would like to learn more from an Athletico physical therapist, schedule a Free Assessment below to get started. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.

Request a Free Assessment

The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

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1 Comment

  1. Henry Killingsworth

    Thank you for helping me to understand that physical therapy doesn’t require a prescription. I would like to find a physical therapist who can help me improve the motion of my joints. I will probably need to make sure that my insurance will allow me to work with a physical therapist first.

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