Physical Therapy in Denver: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a physical therapist?
Physical therapists are licensed health care professionals with master’s degrees or doctorates. They are experts in problems of the muscles and joints. Physical therapists are trained to analyze movement and identify abnormal mechanics that lead to pain and dysfunction. They then treat these problems using various therapies.

When should I see a physical therapist?
Anytime you experience ongoing muscle pain, joint pain, decreased joint motion, headaches or any other musculoskeletal problem. Physical therapy is an excellent mode of rehabilitation for many kinds of injuries such as a sprained ankle or dislocated knee. It is also wise to consult a physical therapist before starting a new exercise program if you have pre-existing musculoskeletal injuries.

What conditions does physical therapy help with?
Physical therapists treat a wide variety of disorders and painful conditions that involve the muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, connective tissue and nerves. If you are not sure physical therapy is right for you, one of our therapists would be happy to discuss your situation with you.  Conditions we treat include:
  • Neck/back pain
  • Vertebral disc problems
  • Whiplash
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders
  • Shoulder pain
  • Hip/knee pain
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Radiculopathy
  • Post-orthopedic surgery
  • Spinal fusions
  • Laminectomies
  • Balance disorders
  • Pain from pregnancy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Decreased range of motion
What kind of treatments does physical therapy entail?
Physical therapists use various methods, such as stretching the joint structures, massage, and exercises to retrain muscles that have stopped working properly. Sometimes treatment will include electrical stimulation to reduce pain or swelling or stimulate a muscle to contract; ultrasound to provide deep heat; and traction to stretch the neck or low back region.

Is physical therapy painful?
Physical therapy should not be painful. However, some techniques may cause mild, brief discomfort during stretching or soft-tissue manipulation. Tell your therapist if you have discomfort so he or she can adjust the treatment to make it more comfortable.

Does health insurance cover physical therapy? What would I have to pay?
Most health insurance plans cover physical therapy. Usually, each visit requires a deductible and/or a co-payment or co-insurance. CCWC expects co-payments to be paid at each visit. Any remaining amounts not covered by your insurance company will be billed to you. We send out bills monthly, but often can't send you a bill until your insurance company has paid. Because many insurance companies delay paying us, we are not always able to get bills out to our patients as soon as we would like. If you have any questions about your bill, or if you have outstanding visits not yet paid by your insurance company, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Do I need to be referred by my doctor?
Except for Medicare, most insurance plans do not require a doctor’s referral to start physical therapy. You can start your care with a physical therapist, and if he or she finds reasons that indicate medical care, the therapist will refer you to your primary care physician, urgent care center or the emergency room, depending on your problem. If you do not have a primary care physician, we can recommend one.

What do I need to bring?
On your initial visit, please bring your doctor’s prescription for physical therapy (if you have one), any applicable insurance referrals or referral numbers, your insurance card and any other appropriate billing information. If you have operative reports, MRI or X-ray results, you may bring those as well. Also bring any braces, splints or crutches that you use.

What should I wear?
All physical therapy exams are private. We recommend that you wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. You may want to wear or bring shorts if we are treating an ankle or knee. We have cloth gowns available if needed.

Will I have to disrobe for any part of my treatment?
In some cases, your therapist may ask you to change into a gown, similar to what you might wear at a doctor's office, to provide effective treatment and protect your own clothing. Women’s health patients may need to disrobe for part of the treatment session. However, your therapist will take great care to keep you covered appropriately.

How long is each visit?
Your first visit — the initial evaluation — takes about 45-60 minutes. It generally also includes some treatment unless your evaluation was very complex. Follow-up visits will take between 30-60 minutes depending on your condition and where you are in your course of therapy.

How often are my treatments?
After the initial evaluation, your physical therapist will determine the frequency and duration of your treatment in coordination with your physician. How often and how long you need treatment depend on the type and severity of your condition. However, most patients come to therapy two or three times a week at first and then less often as their condition improves.

What should I expect during my initial visit?
On your first visit, the physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation lasting approximately 45-60 minutes. She or he will collect your medical history and the history of your condition, perform an assessment of your posture, conduct neurological screening and other tests and measures to gain a specific understanding of your condition. Your physical therapist will use the information to decide on the probable outcome of your conditon and determine your treatment. She or he will develop a physical therapy rehabilitation program based on the problems identified and your personal goals.

How many visits will it take me to feel better?
This will depend on your diagnosis, prognosis and condition at the time you begin rehabilitation therapy. Generally, we can make you feel better in one to three visits and get you to your goals within eight visits. However, patients recovering from surgery, those in severe pain or those with longstanding conditions may require significantly more visits.

Do you do X-rays?
No. Physical therapists are not permitted to perform X-rays. However, if you have had X-rays, MRI scans or any other diagnostic imaging, please bring the report with you. This information will be helpful in planning your care.

Can you prescribe medication?
No. Physical therapists are not licensed to prescribe medicine. However, if you are taking medicine, please let us know what you are taking, becasue many drugs affect the choice of treatments we use.

What is a physical therapist assistant?
Physical therapist assistants, or PTAs, are skilled health care providers who work under the supervision of physical therapists. PTAs help the physical therapist implement treatment programs, train patients in exercises and activities of daily living, conduct treatments and report to the physical therapist on the patient's responses.

Do you provide any special services for women?
Yes. Physical therapy can be effective for prenatal and postpartum pain and dysfunction, after gynecological surgery, for incontinence / pelvic floor weakness and pelvic pain. Therapy for these conditions often consists of strengthening exercises and muscle stimulation. We have female physical therapists who are specially trained in this area of physical therapy.

What can I do to get better while I'm at home?
Your physical therapy treatment will include a home program that you carry out independently. Your therapist will tailor a home program to help you improve your condition and helps prevent your problem from coming back.

Will I need follow-up or maintenance care?
The answer depends on the physical therapist's examination and evaluation. As you near the end of your course of physical therapy, your therapist will be better able to answer this question. Most patients need some type of maintenance plan. This is usually a home program provided by your PT. We also have several wellness options to help you stay healthy, prevent the reccurrence of your current problem and the development of new problems.

These options include massage therapy, Pilates (private sessions and classes) and personal training. All of these practitioners work closely with our physical therapists and can help develop a wellness program specific to you and your needs. Please ask your therapist about what CCWC has to offer once you finish your course of physical therapy.

What if I need to return to physical therapy?
If your problem returns after you leave physical therapy, give us a call and schedule another appointment with your Therapist. They can do a quick re-evaluation and determine if you just need a little more time in therapy or if you need to be referred back to your doctor. In some cases, you will need to obtain a new prescription from your doctor depending on your health insurance. Our front office staff should be able to assist you in determining if you need one.

What is my responsibility in physical therapy?
You are ultimately responsible for your success in your physical therapy program. Your physical therapist can't do it without your active participation. We can provide you with the tools to recover and stay healthy, but we ask that you cooperate by following through with your home exercise programs and instructions.

Is it OK to ask my doctor about physical therapy?
Absolutely! You can give your doctor a call or see him/her for an evaluation before or after coming to physical therapy. If your physician is not sure that physical therapy could help your condition, we invite him or her to contact us to discuss your situation and what we offer. If you have a problem that you think can be helped with physical therapy, give us a call. After discussing your problem, we can give you an idea as to whether it can be managed by physical therapy.

How do I arrange an appointment?
Simply call our office at 303-333-3493 and select the clinic most convenient for you. The staff at each location can schedule you, get your insurance information and answer all of your questions. Alternatively, you can fill out our contact form and we will contact you.

What office policies should I be aware of?
If you have to reschedule an appointment, please call us at least 24 hours in advance. We set aside space and staff for a one-on-one appointment for you. By giving us at least 24 hours notice that you are giving up your slot, we can schedule another patient.
  1. If you will be late, please call and we'll see if we can keep your appointment as scheduled.
  2. Payment is due at time of service: your co-pay (if applicable) and any supplies that you may wish to purchase.
  3. Missed appointments are discouraged. They also become part of your medical record. Multiple missed visits may result in discharge from care, with a note to your physician.
  4. Let us know when you will return to see your physician. We will prepare a progress report and send it to your physician so she/he has for your visit.

How is Cherry Creek Wellness Center different from other physical therapy clinics? Why choose CCWC?
  • Many physical therapy clinics have their therapists see multiple patients at one time. At CCWC, you see your physical therapist individually, and you always see the same physical therapist.
  • All of our physical therapists have extensive training in manual therapy, soft-tissue treatment and Pilates. Our therapists continually expand their education and are always learning. This ensures that you receive the most up-to-date, effective treatments available.
  • CCWC is a private practice owned by a physical therapist. As a result, we are focused on providing excellent care and satisfying our patients. Many corporate physical therapy clinics focus more on high volume and profit. We truly have the patient’s best interest in mind.