Physical Therapy Answers
Do I really need therapy? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
Yes, if you want to get over your current problem, as well as prevent or limit further issues with your spine in the future.
Although 85% of patients with acute back and neck pain can improve completely with time and conservative treatment, many have limited function and prolonged or recurrent pain before things settle down.. These issues result in less activity and altered spine mechanics. Certain muscles weaken (atrophy) and others become overused. This imbalance results in higher loads and more strain upon the already compromised back and neck, creating a vicious cycle that must be stopped in order to restore normal function.
Our therapy consists of purposeful remedial strengthening and 'reprogramming' of essential spinal and 'core' muscles. We use our hands to evaluate, monitor and treat muscle tone and alignment issues. We use specialized machines and gravity-based exercises to increase your control and endurance. But, just as importantly, we teach you the proper spine mechanics you must have when doing real-world activities, and we teach you the 'do's and don'ts' of exercise - whether in the gym or on your bedroom floor - to help prevent further problems.
Am I a candidate for your treatment? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
In the end, any patient at any point in their process is a candidate for aggressive rehabilitiation.
Can I skip therapy and just get injections? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
Injections can be very helpful, and a number of our physical therapy patients have had successful injection therapy as part of their care. We often think of injections as a 'reset button' where the 'fire' in an angry joint or surrounding an injured disc is 'cooled'. But we also strongly believe the duration of relief provided by injections is directly related to how well you 'behave' afterwards. If you don't have a strong-enough core to withstand spinal loading forces, and if you haven't learned proper spine mechanics and proper 'spine hygiene', the benefits of your injection may be short-lived. Physical therapy is essential for assuring you have all the strength and knowledge needed to better prolong the positive effects of injections.
I'm athletic. Why do I need therapy? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
We observe that athletes and serious exercisers often are misinformed about what kind of exercises are safe for their spine. An inventory of their regimen is absolutely important because it often reveals motions or forms that are biomechanically unsafe for their particular condition. Learning these insights is key to getting (and staying) better.
So, while the 'physical' part of physical therapy can be reduced by motivated athletic patients who can precisely execute and complete their assigned exercises, it is the 'learning' part of therapy where athletes have thanked us for helping them discover certain activities that kept their problem from healing, and mastering strategies to reduce further problems even while continuing to exercise vigorously.
How does your therapy differ from other clinics? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
Most physical therapy clinics focus upon relieving the acute (new-onset) symptoms of intense pain and spasm, to quickly return you to regular activities. However, because research has shown that most back pain is rooted in overuse and past injuries, you can expect another flare-up because the underlying condition has not been addressed. Our exercise-based rehab addresses these deeper problems with remedial strengthening and muscle reprogramming, and then we teach you home exercises and proper spine care to stay improved.
How much personal attention will I get in therapy? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
Plenty! Almost all of our patients receive one-on-one treatment with a member of the physical therapy staff for the entirety of each therapy visit. This commitment to quality individual care is extremely uncommon in the physical therapy world. We recognize that spine patients need a lot of hands-on treatment and teaching, and that there are no shortcuts. So far, even in spite of the current climate of shrinking insurance reimbursement, we have been able to remain uncompromising, and thus provide superior care. Staff are divided into two teams so continuity of care is established with the individual patient and between the therapist.
Will therapy make me hurt worse? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
Apprehension is the greatest limiter of physical performance.' If you have been in pain for a long time, it is natural to be very concerned if your pain increases upon starting an exercise program. Activating muscles that haven't been used in a while will cause your body to protest a bit (especially in the first few weeks). Keep in mind that our techniques of therapy are carefully designed to avoid putting discs and joints at risk. Our goal is to strengthen and reprogram muscle and nerve function to "unload" vulnerable spinal structures. Also, rest assured that it is our duty to listen to you and analyze your pain patterns to assure that nothing of alarm is happening as you progress through therapy.
What if I might need surgery or injections? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
We often receive referrals of patients who might require surgery or injections but the referring doctor wants to see if rehab might improve the patient's symptoms. Other times we are sent patients who are already scheduled to have spine surgery, but their surgeon wants to begin 'pre-hab' strengthening before the procedure.
Our experience working with these patients has demonstrated that even patients who need surgery can "get strong" and "reprogram". The important message here is that the severity of the problem does not separate who can achieve the milestones of therapy from those who cannot; instead, the severity of the problem determines who will improve and who will not - as they achieve the milestones.
If your response to physical therapy indicates that you might indeed benefit from surgery or injections we will clear the path for you to have a prompt consultation/re-consultation. We will assure that the consulting doctor receives our reasons for referral, as well as whatever data (X-rays, MRI, therapy notes) will help to make an informed decision.
What about my chiropractor or personal trainer? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
The hardest task in caring for your spine problem is matching the right treatment to the condition. Chiropractic manipulations, acupuncture, massage therapy, surgery, injections, and physical therapy are reasonable treatments at particular times for certain conditions in different people. Because other activities or therapies may either negate or aggravate our treatment, we often try to control outside variables. While in therapy with us, we may ask you to refrain from certain other activities or treatments; then reintroduce them as your condition stabilizes.
What if I don't get better? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
If your spine or other orthopedic condition/problem doesn't get better with therapy, you may be proving that your condition needs more investigation, or the services of a spine surgeon or pain specialist. We believe it is our responsibility to our patients to establish a diagnosis and refer appropriately if we are unable to help.
Is this covered by insurance? Back to Physical Therapy FAQs
Yes, if your insurance covers physical therapy. Some of the plans we participate in include Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Health Plan Select, United Health Care (including State Merit), Medicare, Medicaid CMO's, and Beech Street, and we are also a Worker's Compensation provider. You may check this list of providers or call us at the office to confirm your insurance. Please see Angie for concerns regarding your insurance coverage or payments.
Do I need a referral to have physical therapy/rehab?
Conditions Helped by Physical Therapy
Physical Therapy Clinics Serving Northeast GeorgiaWe have physical offices in Athens, Ga and Lavonia, Ga. However, if you live in Hartwell GA, Royston GA, Toccoa GA, or anywhere in NE GA, we'd love to see you too. Call us, and we'll help you with directions to the office closest to you.
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Map to Lavonia Office
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