FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your First Visit Video

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What should I bring to my initial evaluation?
  • Valid form of identification (i.e. driver’s license or state I.D.)
  • Any/all pertinent medical/diagnostic records (i.e.: x-ray/MRI reports)
  • Current medication list
  • Any prescription and/or written clearance from your physician to commence therapy, fitness & wellness training
  • All completed intake forms – these forms can be downloaded and printed from our website.
  • List of questions you may have for your therapist/trainer
  • A positive attitude!
What happens on my initial evaluation/assessment?

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled initial evaluation, to ensure prompt start time. During your first visit, your therapist/trainer will conduct a thorough musculoskeletal examination to screen and assess your overall functional status and work collaboratively with you to help establish goals and tailor a plan of care specific to your needs, to ensure optimal success. Treatment will be initiated immediately following completion of the initial evaluation, per the therapist’s discretion, followed by a detailed initial home exercise program to be reviewed and progressed on your subsequent visits. Additionally, ample time will be allotted to address any questions and/or concerns you have at the end of your initial evaluation.

How frequently do I have to come for physical therapy/training/wellness?

Frequency and duration of your plan of care will vary depending on your presenting condition, and per the discretion of your therapist/trainer with your collaborative input (in accordance with your specific goals/needs).

How long does each treatment session last?

Treatment session duration will vary depending on the service provided and taking into consideration your presenting condition, and treatment tolerance on that given day. However, in general, please allot 75-90 minutes for initial evaluations/assessments and 45-60 minutes for follow-up sessions.

How much does each treatment session cost?

Cost will vary depending on the duration and type of service provided. For information on rates for all individual/package sessions as per our service menu, please call or text us. Full payment is due at time services are rendered. Payment plan arrangements may be made upon request and on a case-by-case basis.

What forms of payment are accepted?

IronCore accepts cash, check, debit card, credit card, and/or H.S.A./F.S.A. cards as applicable. Card payments may be made either in person, or with your login account information through our secure payment portal.

What things can I expect on my first visit?

During your first visit you can expect the following:

  • Arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed (you can download it from our website – see Forms link).
  • You will provide us with your prescription for physical therapy.

    Direct Physical Therapy Treatment Services (Per the California State Board of Physical Therapy):

    You are receiving direct physical therapy treatment services from an individual who is a physical therapist licensed by the Physical Therapy Board of California.
    Under California law, you may continue to receive direct physical therapy treatment services for a period of up to 45 calendar days or 12 visits, whichever occurs first, after which time a physical therapist may continue providing you with physical therapy treatment services only after receiving, from a person holding a physician and surgeon’s certificate issued by the Medical Board of California or by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, or from a person holding a certificate to practice podiatric medicine from the California Board of Podiatric Medicine and acting within his or her scope of practice, a dated signature on the physical therapist’s plan of care indicating approval of the physical therapist’s plan of care and that an in-person patient examination and evaluation was conducted by the physician and surgeon or podiatrist.

  • You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.
  • The therapist will discuss the following:
    1. Your medical history.
    2. Your current problems/complaints.
    3. Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
    4. How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
    5. Your goals with physical therapy.
    6. Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.
  • The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:
    1. 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.
    2. Range of Motion (ROM) – the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Special Tests – the therapist may perform special tests to confirm/rule out the presence of additional problems.
    6. 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.

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.

What do physical therapists do and why is physical therapy a good choice?

You may have heard of the profession through a conversation with a friend about how physical therapy helped alleviate his or her back pain. Perhaps you might know someone who needed physical therapy after an injury, or who underwent treatment following surgery or to assist with recovery from a specific condition (i.e.: Stroke). Additionally, you might even have been treated by a physical therapist yourself. However, have you ever wondered about physical therapists–who they are and what they do? Generally, many people are familiar with physical therapists’ work helping patients with orthopedic problems, such as neck/low back maladies or shoulder/knee surgeries, to reduce pain and regain function.

More than 50% of all Americans suffer from pain. Whether acute (recent episode) or chronic, an ABC News/Stanford study revealed that pain in America is a serious problem. Physical Therapists are highly skilled clinicians with extensive knowledge and training in anatomy/biomechanics, and are experts at identifying and treatment movement dysfunction. For example, the ability to maintain postural alignment with optimal balance as well as mobility/stability integrity helps ensure controlled/coordinated movement patterns, and performance of daily, work, leisure, and sporting activities with minimal risk of injury, all of which are vital components of your health.

Thus, Physical Therapists are well equipped to treat not just your symptoms but more importantly the source of your symptoms, which if otherwise not addressed appropriately, leads to neuro-musculoskeletal disorders, and physical capacity deficiency. Additionally, because physical therapists are functional movement specialists, much of their work is proactive in nature, and therefore directed towards preventing illness/injury through appropriate treatment and education in efforts to inspire and empower individuals and communities to optimize quality of life.

Physical therapists also function as consultants in athletic, industrial, and/or military settings, offering whole-body movement screens and/or suggestions to improve workplace design/ergonomics in efforts to reduce injury prevalence while improve energy-efficiency and ultimately worker performance and productivity.

The cornerstones of physical therapy treatment are: hands-on manual therapy to address mobility/range of motion restrictions stemming from tight joint/muscles, as well as corrective exercise to address movement dysfunction an enable the patient/client to resume their desired activities at higher functional capacity level. Additionally, as per the specific condition and associated needs of a patient/client, Physical Therapists may appropriately incorporate therapeutic modalities to help manage and modulate pain/swelling/edema and/or muscle atrophy/weakness following injury/surgery such as: Ultrasound (which uses high frequency waves to produce heat as well as a cavitation effects to loosen excess scar tissue and improve circulation), Electrical Stimulation (imparts graded micro-currents at therapeutic levels to reduce swelling and improve muscle activation), hot packs, and ice. Although other kinds of practitioners will offer some of these treatments as “physical therapy,” it’s important to understand, appreciate, and know that physical therapy can only be provided by qualified physical therapists who following completion of undergraduate studies, must complete a 3-year Doctorate program comprising rigorous didactic and clinical residency components.

Most states including California do not legally require a patient to see their physician prior to receiving physical therapy. Most of the time all you have to do is ask your doctor if physical therapy is right for you.

Why are people referred to physical therapy?
You and others may be referred to physical therapy because of a movement dysfunction associated with pain. Your difficulty with moving part(s) of your body (like bending at the low back or difficulty sleeping on your shoulder, etc.) very likely results in limitations with your daily activities (e.g., difficulty getting out of a chair, an inability to play sports, or trouble with walking, etc.). Physical therapists treat these movement dysfunctions and their associated pains and restore your body’s ability to move in a normal manner.
Why should I choose a private practice physical therapist?

Who is better to see, a PT that works for a physician or a PT that owns a private practice? We leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions but here are some facts. The studies indicate there were more treatments (visits per patient were 39% to 45% higher in physician owned clinics) and the cost was greater for those patients that attended a physician owned physical therapy practice (both gross and net revenue per patient were 30% to 40% higher)1.

Another study indicated that licensed and non-licensed therapy providers spent less time with each patient in physician owned clinics and physical therapy assistants were substituted for physical therapists.2

Another older study concluded that “Therapists who had treated patients through direct access were significantly more likely to believe that direct access had benefited them professionally and benefited their patients than were therapists who had not practiced through direct access.”3

We believe that we can provide you with the highest quality of care available and do it in a cost-effective manner.4 You will work closely with your physical therapist and in most instances, your case will be managed by the same physical therapist from the beginning to the end of your experience with us.

  1. Mitchell, J., Scott, E., Physician Ownership of Physical Therapy Services: Effects on Charges, Utilization, Profits, and Service Characteristics, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992.
  2. “Joint Ventures Among Health Care Providers in Florida,” State of Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board, 1991.
  3. Domholdt E, Durchholz AG.
    Direct access use by experienced therapists in states with direct access. Phys Ther. 1992 Aug;72(8):569-74.

  4. Federal Office of the Inspector General May 1, 2006 – This report calls into question billing processes done by non-physical therapist owned practices.
Who pays for the treatment?

IronCore is a fee-for-service practice only and is not in network with insurance carriers. This model allows for singular undivided focus on clinical care, to ensure the highest quality service is provided without the plethora of administrative burdens/coverage restrictions created by the insurance carriers, ranging from: high copayments/deductibles and visit caps, to excessive documentation and claims denials, all of which undermine both the provider and patient.

Below are some additional points on how it can be more desirable and cost efficient to NOT use your insurance for physical therapy, per the current healthcare landscape:

  • Insurance Companies dictate the frequency, type and duration of treatment covered, thereby compromising both quality/quantity of care, and overall outcomes.
  • At insurance-based facilities, your time spent with the actual licensed clinician is limited to an average of 15 minutes or less, the remaining of which is administered by aides/technicians and oftentimes shared amongst 3-4 other patients simultaneously, due to the multiple demands placed on the therapist by the insurance companies. As a result, you will require an average of 2-3 more visits/week to achieve your goals, with only transient results at best.
  • Unmatched customer service and clinical care cannot be rushed or limited. At IronCore, all physical therapy initial evaluations are 90 minutes and follow up treatment sessions 60 minutes. Each treatment session consists of 1:1 manual (hands-on) therapy, as well as corrective exercise, provided by a Doctor of Physical Therapy. This system ensures ample time for thorough examination/re-examination, and education regarding your condition, to attack the root cause of your symptoms, while working collaboratively with you to customize your plan of care, and implement any appropriate modifications to your program, to ensure faster, better, and longer-lasting results.
  • Thus: when you consider the investment in time and money, as well as the value obtained from identifying the origin of your symptoms to impart lasting pain relief, and restore optimal function faster and more effectively, minus the stress of confronting multiple mandates from the insurance carriers, the average out-of-pocket expense at IronCore is a substantial savings vs. traditional insurance-based clinics.
Who will see me?

You will be evaluated and treated by our licensed and highly trained physical therapist in orthopedic neuromusculoskeletal rehabilitation who also has an extensive background in fitness/sports performance training. Please be assured, you will be working 1:1 with the same clinician during subsequent visits throughout the entire duration of your plan of care. Unlike some clinics, where you see someone different each visit, we feel it is very important to develop a strong working relationship with you to maintain continuity of care. Since only one physical therapist knows your condition best, he/she is the one that will be working closely with you and your healthcare team, to speed your recovery.

Is physical therapy painful?

For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on techniques such as joint/soft-tissue mobilization and stretching, corrective exercise to improve range of motion, strength, and tissue circulation, as well as therapeutic modalities ranging from ultrasound and electrical stimulation to hot packs and/or ice. ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy as needed. In some cases, physical therapy techniques can be painful. For example, recovering knee range of motion after total joint replacement or shoulder range of motion following surgery such as a Rotator Cuff Repair, may be produce discomfort. Rest assured, your physical therapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help streamline and maximize your recovery while ensure achievement of your goals. Throughout the course of your care, it is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan.

What types of treatments will I receive?

There exists a plethora of treatment interventions depending on the type and severity of one’s presenting condition. However, below is a short list of just some of the many treatment interventions you may receive:

Range of Motion (ROM) Training: – patient moves a certain body part through a specific arc or segment of range either against gravity and independently under therapist’s guidance, or depending on the severity of the condition and/or tissue healing stage, with assistance from the patient’s un-involved limb (active-assistive range of motion – AAROM, or through the manual assistance of the therapist – passive range of motion: PROM. ROM training is usually one of the first interventions initiated during the early stages of recovery to begin to reduce pain, as well as improve tissue circulation, and overall mobility.

Soft Tissue Mobilization – a hand-on technique involving therapeutic massage to specific regional body tissue (i.e.: fascia/muscle) performed with the hands, to facilitate relaxation, as well as decrease swelling, relieve pain/scar tissue adhesions.

Joint Mobilization – hands-on therapeutic procedures performed in an oscillatory manner and at graded speeds, amplitudes, and intensities as per the patient’s condition and tolerance, to improve joint kinematics/mobility, as well as reduce muscle guarding, stiffness, and pain.

Stretching/Flexibility Training – exercises targeting specific body parts/regions designed to lengthen muscle(s) or soft tissue. Stretching exercises are generally prescribed to address muscle tightness/restriction due pain, disuse, spasm, and/or immobilization stemming from a long-standing compensatory dysfunctional movement pattern following either acute/chronic injury and/or surgery.

Isometrics – strengthening exercises that involve muscle contraction without joint movement. Generally implemented in the early stages of rehabilitation to help awaken/re-educate dormant muscle-tendon structures with imparting damaging stresses to healing joints/soft-tissues following acute injury and/or surgery as per healing time frames.

Progressive Resistive Exercises (PRE) – strengthening exercises that take the muscle-tendon-joint interface through its full available range of motion with gradually increasing in load/intensity (weight) and volume (repetitions). PRE’s are generally prescribed in the intermediate to advanced stages of rehabilitation to restore optimal muscle size strength. Barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, tubing/bancs, and one’s own bodyweight, are all forms of resistance that may be used depending on the patient’s condition and healing/recovery stage.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) – a system of manually resisted exercises performed in diagonal patterns that mimic functional movements. PNF was initially used in developmentally and neurologically impaired patients but now is used in almost every aspect of neuromuscular retraining with demographics ranging from elite athletes to weak/terminally-ill patients in hospitals/skilled nursing homes.

Gait Training – the analysis of walking dysfunctions/deficiencies by visually examining the interaction of the pelvis/low back and core musculature with the joints shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and foot/ankle, during all phase of walking cycle from the moment the heel strikes the ground and swing-through of the limb to advance the body forward, followed by repeat on the opposite side. Many spine and extremity related problems may be caused by or manifest themselves in subtle gait abnormalities.

Posture Training – instruction in the correct biomechanical alignment of the body to reduce undue strain on muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, intervertebral discs, and neurovascular structures (nerves/blood vessels). Posture is generally assessed with the patient in a relaxed standing position, using a vertically oriented plumb-line marking specific reference points on the body. Therapists educate patients about the importance and implications of posture and its myriad effects on performance with daily, leisure, and sporting activities. Appropriate joint/soft-tissue mobilization/stretching as well as and balance training, strengthening, and stabilization exercises to the core and extremity musculature, may be prescribed to address postural/movement dysfunction and prevent further disability.

Home Exercise Programs (HEP) – to ensure lasting positive carry-over effects from actual treatment sessions and steady progress, supplementary home exercise program instruction in both written and/or video format will be provided and advanced appropriately in accordance with the client’s/patient’s tolerance and response to the overall plan of care.

Spinal Traction – a gentle longitudinal/axial pull on the neck or lumbo-pelvic regions, imparted either manually or mechanically, and for either intermittent or continuous periods to provide decompressive (un-loading) effect on the spinal joints and surrounding segments, to help relieve pain and decrease muscle spasm.

Will I get a massage at physical therapy?

Massage may be part of your treatment. Rehabilitation specialists are trained in a variety of techniques that may help with your recovery. Deep tissue techniques may be part of the rehabilitative process. Massage is used for three reasons typically – to facilitate venous return from a swollen area, to relax a tight muscle, or to relieve pain.

What happens if my problem or pain returns?

Flare ups are not uncommon. If you have a flare up (exacerbation), give us a call. We may suggest you come back to see us, return to your doctor, or simply modify your daily activities or exercise routine.

Can I go to any physical therapy clinic?

In most cases, you have the right to choose any physical therapy clinic.

The best thing to do is give us a call and we will attempt to answer all of your questions.

Can I go directly to my physical therapist?

All fifty states have some form of direct access. In most cases, if you are not making significant improvement within 30 days, the therapist will refer you to/back to your physician.

Seeing a physical therapist first is safe and could save you hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars. Click here for details

Direct Physical Therapy Treatment Services (Per the California State Board of Physical Therapy):

 

You are receiving direct physical therapy treatment services from an individual who is a physical therapist licensed by the Physical Therapy Board of California.
Under California law, you may continue to receive direct physical therapy treatment services for a period of up to 45 calendar days or 12 visits, whichever occurs first, after which time a physical therapist may continue providing you with physical therapy treatment services only after receiving, from a person holding a physician and surgeon’s certificate issued by the Medical Board of California or by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, or from a person holding a certificate to practice podiatric medicine from the California Board of Podiatric Medicine and acting within his or her scope of practice, a dated signature on the physical therapist’s plan of care indicating approval of the physical therapist’s plan of care and that an in-person patient examination and evaluation was conducted by the physician and surgeon or podiatrist.

Can my therapist provide me with a diagnosis?

In most states, physical therapists cannot make a medical diagnosis. This is something that your medical doctor will provide for you.

Physical therapists are important members of your medical team. At this point in time, physicians are typically the health care providers that will provide you with a medical diagnosis.

How does the billing process work?

IronCore is a fee-for-service practice only and is not in network with insurance carriers. This model allows for singular undivided focus on clinical care, to ensure the highest quality service is provided without the plethora of administrative burdens/coverage restrictions created by the insurance carriers, ranging from: high copayments/deductibles and visit caps, to excessive documentation and claims denials, all of which undermine both the provider and patient.

All payments are due at time services are rendered. Late payments will be assessed a 5% interest for each delinquent day. IronCore reserves the right to confidentially retain your credit card information on file. Additionally, all appointments are subject to a 24-hour cancellation notice. A $50 fee will be charged for cancellations less than 24 hours lead time.

What will I need to do after completing all of my physical therapy sessions?

Some patients will need to continue with home exercises. Some may choose to continue with a gym exercise program to improve their fitness level and performance with desired sports. Others will complete their rehabilitation and return to normal daily/leisure activities. It is important that you communicate your goals to your therapist, so he/she can work collaboratively with you to tailor a program specific to your needs and goals.

Is my therapist licensed?

Physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are licensed by their respective states.

How do I choose a physical therapy clinic?

These are some things you may consider when seeking a physical therapy clinic:

  • The therapist should be licensed in the state.
  • The first visit should include a thorough medical history and physical examination before any treatment is rendered.
  • The patient goals should be discussed in detail during the first visit.
  • Care should include a variety of techniques which might include hands-on techniques, soft tissue work, therapeutic exercises and in some cases heat, cold, electrical stimulation or ultrasound.
  • Do they have a service that can address your problem?
  • They should be conveniently located. Since sitting and driving often aggravate orthopedic problems, there should be a very good reason for you to drive a long distance for rehabilitation.
  • What are the hours of operation?
  • Can they provide satisfaction survey results?
  • The therapist should provide the treatment.
  • Can you briefly interview the therapist before the first visit?
  • Ask your family and friends who they would recommend.
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