Physical & Occupational Therapy FAQs

Q: What should I wear to therapy?

A: Loose fitting clothing- shorts for a lower extremity or back injury, short sleeves for upper extremity injuries. Please wear or bring appropriate shoes, i.e. sneakers.

Q: How long does therapy last?

A: Your appointments may last between 30 minutes and one hour. This time depends on your diagnosis and state of progress.

Q: Do your PTs/OTs specialize in specific body parts?

A: Our physical therapists are skilled in all musculoskeletal diagnoses. Our occupational therapists treat the upper extremities including the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. All of our therapists have skilled experience and our clinic emphasizes continuing education to improve their knowledge of various conditions and effective rehabilitation.

Q: How much will each session cost?

A: The cost of each session will depend on your individual insurance benefits. On your inital appointment, the person checking you in will go over your physical or occupational therapy benefits with you. If you have any questions regarding them, please don’t hesitate to ask. We also recommend you contact your insurance company to verify your physical or occupational therapy benefits.

Q: Do you take my insurance?

A: We have a list of the insurances that we accept on our website. When in doubt, please call our office with your specific type of insurance.

Q: Can I or should I perform the same exercises that I do in the therapy clinic on my own at home?

A: Follow the Home Exercise Program that your therapist gave you/discussed with you and be sure to ask your therapist if it is ok to add or change any of those exercises for home use before attempting them on your own. This is because some exercises, even if you know them well and they seem “easy,” may require supervision for proper form and may cause more harm than good if performed without the assistance of a skilled therapist.

Q: Do I need to worry about renewing my prescription for physical or occupational therapy?

A: No our staff will stay on top of it and be sure to contact your doctor when necessary.

Q: Where exactly is your office located?

A: Reston:
1860 Town Center Drive Suite 300, Parkway Medical Tower
Centerville:
6201 Centerville Road Suite 600

Q: When should I arrive to my appointment?

A: Please arrive to your appointment 10 minutes early, to go over any necessary paperwork prior to your visit.

Q: Will I be doing exercises on my initial appointment during the evaluation?

A: Some of our patients will also perform exercises during the initial evaluation appointment. In addition, your therapist will always give you a home exercise program at that first visit.

Q: What are your hours?

A: Both of our therapy locations are open 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Fridays.

Q: Can I start in Reston and then switch to Centreville, or vice versa?

A: Although there are times when our patients are seen in both offices for therapy, it is to your benefit that you stay in the same office. We like to have the same therapist treat you consistently throughout your time in therapy.

Q: I’m a patient of one of the doctors at TCOA, do I have to fill out all of this paper work again if I already did it for them?

A: If you have recently seen one of our doctors you will not have to fill out any additional paperwork prior to starting in therapy.

Q: How many visits are required for pre-operative conditions like an ACL reconstruction, Total Knee Replacement or Total Hip Replacement?

A: 1 – 2 visits is usually all that is necessary prior to surgery. This will depend on any restrictions or limitations that your doctor and therapist are concerned about.

Q: Do I have to come to this facility to do therapy, just because my doctor suggested it?

A: You are not required to have therapy at TCOA. We have a list of other therapy locations that may be more convenient for you.

Q: Will PT hurt?

A: PT generally should not be painful, however depending on the nature of the problem being treated; sometimes uncomfortable stretching can be used to promote gains in mobility. Usually we ask our patients to avoid painful movements or activities to allow their injury to heal.

Q: What are heat and ice used for and when do I use it?

A: Heat is good to use prior to exercise and activity; it helps to warm up the muscle and/or joint in preparation for use. Ice is good to use after activity or when painful and swollen; it helps to decrease pain and inflammation.

Q: What if my splint or cast feels uncomfortable, giving me pain, or my skin is irritated?

A: Do not cut off cast or dispose of your splint. Do not attempt to modify or alter the fit of cast/splint. Call TCOA asap and talk to your therapist to diagnose the problem and come up with a solution. Be sure you have an appointment scheduled and bring in cast/splint to next therapy session for re-assessment.

Q: If I had surgery on my fingers/hand/wrist should I independently remove any staples, stitches, or buttons?

A: No. Call your therapist or doctor if any questions or concerns about your surgical repair.

Q: Should I take my pain medicine before or after therapy?

A: Take it prior to therapy; 30 min to an hour before therapy to let it work into your system.