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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What is Physical Therapy?

    Physical therapy is treatment to improve mobility (such as walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed), to relieve pain, and to restore physical function and overall fitness. The physical therapist uses exercise, manual therapy, education, and modalities such as heat, cold, and electrical stimulation to work toward these goals.

    Depending on the injury, disease, or condition, physical therapy may include work on flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, and/or balance. Treatment may focus on preventing problems or treating problems that affect:

    • Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones (musculoskeletal system).
    • Your nerves and related muscles (neuromuscular system).
    • Your heart and related blood vessels (cardiovascular system).
    • Your lungs and breathing (pulmonary system).
    • Your skin, including wounds and burns.
    • Any combination of two or more of these.
  • Who can provide Physical Therapy?

    Physical therapists are health professionals who evaluate physical problems and injuries, then provide education and treatment to promote health and physical function. Physical therapists also develop programs that include exercise and stretching to increase fitness and prevent injury.

    A physical therapist provides hands-on treatment to help return normal movement to joints and muscles. He or she gives instruction about exercises to help heal and strengthen the body. Treatment may include physical or mechanical means, such as mobilization and manipulation of joints, exercise, heat, or mild electrical current. Physical therapists also use devices such as prosthetics (artificial limbs), orthotics (braces and supports), and equipment to help a person in daily life.

    Some physical therapists treat a wide range of ailments. Others specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports physical therapy, neurology, cardiovascular, pulmonary, oncology, and women’s health. Physical therapists work for hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, rehabilitation facilities, fitness facilities, and schools.

    Physical therapists earn a doctorate in physical therapy from an accredited physical therapist educational program that includes a period of clinical work. All states require physical therapists to pass a licensure exam before they can practice.


  • Will my insurance pay for Physical Therapy?

    Coverage for physical therapy services varies by insurance company.  You may have a “co-pay” or “co-insurance” that you will be responsible for.  Also, your deductible will need to be met before your insurance will pay for your therapy.  Check with your insurance carrier to see what benefits they provide.  SSI accepts most insurance plans but feel free to contact us if you are unsure.

  • Do I need a doctor's referral (prescription)?

    The State of South Carolina is a “direct access” state, meaning that most insurances (excluding Medicare) will pay for physical therapy services for 30 days without a referral from a doctor.  So, most people can just call us and set up an appointment any time.  Of course, if your condition requires that you see a doctor, we will refer you to someone who can help.  Call our office if you have specific insurance questions.

  • Can I choose where I go for Physical Therapy?

    Of course you can!  Just as you choose your family doctor or surgeon, you have the right to choose where to go for physical therapy.  We would love for you to choose SSI!

  • What if I don't have insurance?

    If you do not have insurance, we would be happy to put you on a cash payment plan.  Call our office for more details.

  • What can I expect at my first visit?

    Your Physical therapist will perform a comprehensive evaluation based on your individual needs. This could include, but is not limited to the following: Assessment of posture, gait, range of motion, strength, soft tissue changes, joint mobility.  Click here for more information on what to expect.

  • What should I wear?

    You should wear comfortable clothes that are not restrictive to movement and closed toe shoes like a sneaker (Ladies, no heels please) 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).

  • How long will my appointment take?

    For the initial evaluation expect to be in our clinic for at least one hour. Although evaluation times vary according to individual patient needs, there will be paper work to be filled out which will take some time.  Your therapist will let you know how long subsequent sessions should last.  Depending on your treatment plan, follow-up visits may last anywhere from 30 minutes up to more than an hour.

  • How long will I need Physical Therapy and how many times per week?

    That depends on many factors. Many times your doctor will prescribe how often &/or how long you should receive physical therapy. Occasionally, insurance companies dictate this. But mostly your therapist will predict how often and how long you may need P.T. based on the findings at your initial evaluation and how well you progress.  Most patients will be seen 2-3 times per week.

  • Will my therapist communicate with my doctor about my treatment and progress?

    Absolutely! Your physician will receive a copy of your initial evaluation and plan of care within 24 hours of your 1st visit. As indicated, weekly, bi-weekly &/or monthly reports will also be sent to your doctor. Occasionally, phone calls are also utilized to communicate any changes, problems &/or questions that may arise..

  • Should I take my pain medication before coming to Physical Therapy?

    Everyone deals with pain differently. Physical therapy may increase the intensity of your pain during treatment. Taking pain medication before P.T. may make your treatment more tolerable; however, you should only take your medications as prescribed and follow all directions/precautions as indicated. You will also want to discuss the need for pain medication with your physical therapist as pain is very individual.

  • Can I bring someone with me?

    Yes.  It would be very appropriate for you to bring with you who ever will be assisting you at home in any way. With a family member, significant other &/or caregiver, your therapist will be better able to assist you with a comprehensive home program &/or teach someone else how to better help you at home in your own environment.

If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!