Physical Therapy 101: Common FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

By Kelly Ann Young, Physical Therapist Assistant

What is a physical therapist?
A physical therapist, commonly abbreviated as PT, is a health care professional who, “examines, diagnoses, and evaluates the extent of physical problems requiring physical therapy interventions, and treats patients who are suffering from physical injuries or disabilities by teaching them various therapeutic exercises and activities that strengthen muscles, improve mobility, and relieve pain.” (American Physical Therapy Associate,

What is a physical therapist assistant?
A physical therapist assistant, commonly abbreviated as PTA, is also a healthcare professional who works with patients under the direct supervision of a physical therapist (in New Jersey). Other states have varying degrees of supervision requirements.

Here at Eastpointe Integrated Health, we work with a team approach, consisting of one physical therapist and one physical therapist assistant in each team.

Where do physical therapists work?
PTs and PTAs can work in hospitals, rehab facilities, free standing outpatient clinics, nursing homes, or colleges to name a few.

Eastpointe Integrated Health is an outpatient clinic.

How can a physical therapist help you?
Patients can benefit from physical therapy for a variety of different reasons ranging from sports injuries to lower back pain, arthritis, vertigo and post stroke. They can treat patients who are recovering from fractures, joint replacements, amputations, or burns. There are PTs who specialize in pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, or women’s health.

Do you need a prescription for physical therapy?
“In New York and New Jersey, patients are able to be evaluated and treated by a licensed physical therapist without a physician’s referral, called Direct Access. Some insurance plans may still require you to consult with a physician first, in order to be reimbursed for services.” ( Exceptions to direct access may include but are not limited to Medicare, workman’s compensation insurance, and PIP (personal injury) insurance whereby a referral and prescription from a MD before treatment by a PT may be required. “Direct access benefits patients in that it allows patients to expedite treatment, saving time and money.” (

How many times a week do you usually attend physical therapy?
Your treatment plan is dependent on what is found upon evaluation by the physical therapist. Treatment plans can vary from 1x/week to 3x/week but the typical frequency would be 2 – 3x/week for 45 minute sessions.

How is PT different here at Eastpointe?
Here at Eastpointe we work as a multidisciplinary team integrating physical therapy, chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture. We find that the combination of physical therapy and the other services offered improves the outcomes of our physical therapy patients. Treatment is varied based on individual patient needs. Our team approaches patient care as a “whole” person rather than treating “a body part.” Upon discharge from physical therapy, patients are provided with a home exercise program. They are also eligible for a free trial period at The Eastpointe Gym to encourage a healthy lifestyle after discharge from PT. They would then have the option to become full gym members to work out on their own, with the group fitness program, or one on one with a trainer.

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