920 NE 112th Ave, Suite #103

Vancouver, WA 98684

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. Why Do I need Physical Therapy?

Physical Therapy is a conservative treatment method addressing the treatment, healing, and prevention of injuries and disabilities. Physical therapists focus primarily, but not solely, on relieving pain, promoting healing, restoring function and movement when recovering from an injury. Therapy also focuses on body mechanics, wellness, prevention and education.

2. What Should I Wear?

You should wear comfortable clothes that are not restrictive to movement and closed toe shoes. We can provide you with a patient gown to expose appropriate body parts, however, you may want to wear something that allows us to view that part without having to change (eg. If you are coming in for a knee problem you may want to wear shorts or bring a pair with you to change into).

3. Do I need a Referral?

A recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) revealed 70% of people think a referral or prescription is required for evaluation by a physical therapist. However, all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) allow patients to be evaluated by a physical therapist without a physician’s prior referral.

4. What are your hours?

Hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Saturday by appointment only.

5. Do you take my insurance?

Timberline accepts and is a preferred provider for most major insurance providers in the area; except Medicaid/CUP. Insurance will be verified prior to any services rendered. We are NOT in network with Molina Marketplace insurance.

6. Is Physical Therapy Painful?

Physical therapists seek to minimize your pain and discomfort—including chronic or long-term pain. They work within your pain threshold to help you heal, and restore movement and function. The survey found that although 71% of people who have never visited a physical therapist think physical therapy is painful, that number significantly decreases among patients who have seen a physical therapist in the past year.

7. Is Physical Therapy only for Injuries and Accidents?

Physical therapists do a lot more than just stretch or strengthen weak muscles after an injury or surgery. They are skilled at evaluating and diagnosing potential problems before they lead to more serious injuries or disabling conditions—from carpal tunnel syndrome and frozen shoulder, to chronic headaches and lower back pain, to name a few.

8. Can any Health Care Professional Perform Physical Therapy?

Although 42% of consumers know that physical therapy can only be performed by a licensed physical therapist, 37% still believe other health care professionals can also administer physical therapy.

9. Is Physical Therapy Covered by Insurance?

Most insurance policies cover some form of physical therapy. Beyond insurance coverage, physical therapy has proven to reduce costs by helping people avoid unnecessary imaging scans, surgery, or prescription drugs. Physical therapy can also lower costs by helping patients avoid falls or by addressing conditions before they become chronic.

10. Is Surgery My Only Option?

In many cases, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating a wide range of conditions—from rotator cuff tears and degenerative disk disease, to meniscal tears and some forms of knee osteoarthritis. Those who have recently seen a physical therapist know this to be true, with 79% believing physical therapy can provide an alternative to surgery.

11. Can I Do Physical Therapy Myself?

Your participation is key to a successful treatment plan, but every patient still needs the expert care and guidance of a licensed physical therapist. Your therapist will leverage his or her specialized education, clinical expertise, and the latest available evidence to evaluate your needs and make a diagnosis before creating an individualized plan of care.

12. What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is using the hands to knead the injured tissues of your body to help decrease pain, improve circulation, and decrease muscle tension. There are many massage techniques, including effleurage, pettrisage, and trigger point massage.

13. What is Therapeutic Exercise?

Exercise is a controlled physical stress applied to the body to help improve strength, range of motion, or flexibility. Exercise can be passive or active. Passive exercise is one that requires you to simply relax while another person, like a physical therapist, applies the stress. One example of this is a hamstring stretch where a person lifts your leg to elongate the hamstring muscle on the back of your thigh.

Active exercise is exercise that you are performing under your own power. Walking on a treadmill, hip strengthening exercises, or straight leg raising exercises are all active exercises.

If you attend physical therapy in a clinic, at home, or while in the hospital, you will likely be engaged in some form of exercises to help improve your mobility. Many times you will be instructed in a home exercise program. The home program is a group of exercises that are prescribed by your physical therapist that you perform on your own. The home exercise program can be very important to help you return to normal function.

14. What is Electrical Stimulation?

A TENS unit stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is a small battery operated machine that uses electrical transmission to decrease pain. Electrodes are applied to the affected area. The machine is turned on and an electrical current is sent through the electrodes. A tingling sensation is felt in the underlying skin and muscle. This signal disrupts the pain signal that is being sent from the affected area to the surrounding nerves. By breaking this signal, the patient experiences less pain.

15. What is Low Level Laser Therapy?

Light therapy involves using light at a specific wavelength to help improve the healing process of injured tissues. The treatment is painless and usually lasts for approximately one to three minutes. To apply light therapy, your physical therapist will hold the light emitting wand directly over your injured body part and press a button to activate the light.

Light therapy can be used in the treatment of chronic pain, inflammation, or wound healing.

The theory behind light therapy is that photons of light carry energy, and this energy applied to injured tissues can help improve cellular processes and speed healing or decrease pain.

16. What is Mechanical Traction?

Traction is used in the treatment of low back pain and neck pain to help decrease pain and improve mobility in the spine.

To use lumbar traction, you must be strapped into a mechanical machine. There is a vest that helps support your ribs, and another device that wraps around your pelvis. The vest and pelvic device are stabilized with straps, and a mechanical force is applied with a machine.

Cervical traction is applied in either the sitting or lying position. If sitting, a harness is attached to the head and a pulley system is used with a small weight attached. The weight provides the traction force while you sit comfortably in a chair. In lying, or supine, traction, a specific device is used. You must lie down on your back and strap your forehead into the device. Then, a pneumatic pump is used to help provide the traction force to your neck.

Theoretically, traction helps to separate the joints and disc spaces in the low back or neck, which in turn helps to decrease pressure on spinal nerves.

17. What is ATM?

Treatment on the ATM is pain-free, patient/clinician combined effort to manage and reduce acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain and movement restrictions. When treatment is applied the patient can expect a rapid reduction of pain levels, improved range of movement, and achievement of functional goals.

Three phases of ATM Treatment:

Examination: You will be examined by a licensed physical therapist that will not only determine if the ATM is beneficial for you, but if there are any contra-indications for treatment. Your full examination will contain your available range of motion and your pain level that will allow the therapist to position you in the machine to maximize benefit.

Motion: Once properly positioned in the ATM your body is stabilized in such a manner that allow for pain free true motion to occur at the desired joint/joints. This pain free motion is the re-education that the body needs to allow for return to daily activities. As you become more comfortable with the ATM treatment your numbers of repetitions and sets are increased to maximize benefit.

Home Program: After your first treatment with the ATM you will notice a marked improvement in range of motion and a decrease in your pain level. The therapist will then instruct you on home exercises that will replicate, as close as possible, the activity you just preformed on ATM to aid in prevention of reoccurring pain.

18. How is Ultrasound used in Physical Therapy?

Ultrasound is a deep heating treatment used to treat many musculoskeletal conditions like sprains, strains, or tendonitis. Ultrasound is administered by your physical therapist using an ultrasound machine. A wand called a sound head is pressed gently against your skin and moved in small circular sweeps near the site of injury. A small amount of gel is used so the ultrasound waves are absorbed into the skin and muscles.

19. What is Joint Mobilization?

Joint mobilization occurs when your physical therapist passively moves the joints of your body in specific directions. This can help to decrease pain and improve mobility. While we often think of our joints moving as hinges, there is a gliding motion that also occurs between the joints of the body. This gliding motion is increased during joint mobilizations. The degree to which your therapist moves each joint depends upon the amount of pressure and the direction of force applied to the joint.

While joint mobilization is a passive treatment, your physical therapist can teach you self-mobilization techniques so you can manage your problem independently. This can help you return to normal function quickly and offer you a strategy to prevent future problems.

20. How is Heat used in Physical Therapy?

Physical therapists wrap moist hot packs in several layers of towels. They are then applied directly on the exposed area that needs treatment. The heat provided by the hot packs has several important benefits. It relaxes tight muscles causing tissues to relax. This decreases pain caused by muscle tension or spasms. It also causes vasodilatation of the blood vessels which increases circulation to the area. Patients with muscle strains, spasms, or arthritis often benefit from treatment with moist hot packs.

21. How is Ice used in Physical Therapy?

If you have an injury, cold packs or ice may be applied to your body to help decrease pain and control inflammation. Ice is usually used during the acute or initial phase of injury to limit localized swelling around tissues.

Cold packs are usually applied for 15 to 20 minutes. Like hot packs, care must be used to prevent skin damage from getting too cold.

22. What is Iontophoresis?

A medical treatment used to deliver medication across the skin to deeper tissues by the use of electrical polarity. Physical therapists occasionally use this mechanism to deliver steroid medication to sites of inflammation, or swelling.

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Copyright © 2017 Timberline Physical Therapy

Cascade Park

Timberline Physical Therapy

920 NE 112th Ave Suite #103

Vancouver, WA 98684

Phone: 360-567-2002

Email: info@timberlinePT.com

Timberline Physical Therapy is a BBB Accredited Physical Therapist in Vancouver, WA