Q & A
How do I make an appointment?
Do I need a referral for Physical Therapy? If so, how do I get one?
In many states, Physical Therapists have what is known as ‘direct access’ meaning, patients can legally see them directly, without referral. However, some insurance companies require referral in order to pay. The State of Michigan still requires a Dr.'s prescription.
A Referral/Prescription to Physical Therapy should be in writing and signed and dated by the medical doctor. It should include your diagnosis and say PT to evaluate and treat as needed. The doctor can also provide any specifications. Please see Physician Referral Form for printing and taking to your doctor, which will make this easier for both you and your provider. Which Doctor should refer me to you?
Referral can come from a family physician, an internal medicine physician, a urologist, an OB/ GYN, a Urogynecologist, or a surgeon. Usually the referral comes from the doctor that most recently saw you for the current symptoms. You should talk with the medical provider (usually your primary care Dr. or your OBGYN) who has seen you for and talked with you about this problem.
What if I have not seen a doctor for these issues?
Talk with the provider you are most comfortable with. They may want to see you in the office prior to making the referral to get a good history, do some tests and discuss options. You may have to educate your doctor about this type of service as they may not be aware of all of the services that a women's Health Physical Therapist can provide. It is highly encouraged to direct them to my website and/or that you and/or your primary provider (physician, physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner) call the Physical Therapist and ask more questions about the evaluation process and treatment options. Again, printing the Physician Referral Form may help.
How do I approach my Doctor regarding such personal issues?
Discussing issues of pain with intimacy, incontinence, etc, can be very difficult and embarrassing, especially if you feel you are the only one with these symptoms, but it is very important to tell your physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant anything about your body and health that does not seem normal to you (remember: pain is never normal and you can't get help or direction until you tell your provider).
1. Always be completely honest even if you feel embarrassed. These topics are a normal part of life (sexual relations, bowel, and bladder function) Remember: just because your provider does not ask you about these things does not mean it is not important. It is up to you!!
2. Compare the symptoms now to when you felt more "normal". Explain how it affects everyday life both physically, socially, and relationally.
3. Be specific. Tell as much as you can about your symptoms when they occur, how long they last, what makes them better or worse, when did they start and things that increase or decrease symptoms.
4. Ask about all the options. Some physicians may highly recommend medications as a first line of defense. Keep in mind there are always side effects. Physical Therapy is always a safe, conservative alternative and first step. An evaluation with a Women's Health PT can determine some treatment options that may be available. PT does not limit future options such as medications or surgery if these become necessary. Your PT will also give evaluation findings to your provider and discuss any necessary findings. So a team approach is encouraged.
5. Talk to the provider you are most comfortable with in the office you go to. For example: maybe your physician is a male, but the nurse is female, you may be more comfortable with telling the nurse then she can relay that to the doctor.
Does my insurance cover this type of service?
Most insurances have physical therapy coverage. I also accept insurances. It is encouraged that you call your insurance to check your benefits before your first visit. My office will call to check on your benefits if we get your information at least a few business days prior to your first visit.
Note: Some insurances require a pre-authorization for Physical Therapy. This is usually requires a bit more time and is important to do before your first visit.
How long are appointments?
The first appointment usually takes about an hour. You can come prepared with insurance card and the Patient Intake Form completed. Subsequent appointments will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes depending on your treatment plan.
What can I expect for the evaluation procedures?
A thorough health history will be taken including specific information about your current symptoms. I take a little time to explain the full evaluation to help you feel comfortable and have an understanding of the procedures. Then a physical examination is completed. Usually some treatment is started on the first day, which usually involves some education, discussion of goals for treatment.
Note: The evaluation is done within your comfort level, but typical procedures include undressing the bottom half for the therapist to get a thorough evaluation of the abdominals, pelvis, and pelvic floor muscles. Computer EMG and strength measurements are also taken to get very specific information re: your current level of strength, coordination, and endurance.
How many visits are usually required?
Every case is very different, but the average number of visits for therapy is between 4 and 10 depending on the initial complaints/symptoms. I always work with the patient to best accommodate financial ability, transportation, and coordination of appointments with work and family obligations.
To learn more or to schedule an evaluation today,