Frequently Asked Questions


What role does the physical therapist have in providing care?

We are the members of the healthcare team that focus on and specialize in minimizing pain and disability while restoring normal movement and function.  We are a very hands-on, exercise based profession that works with your physician, dentist, podiatrist, chiropractor, physician’s assistant and nurse practitioner with the goals of restoring normal motion, strength, and your ability to perform activities needed for everyday living.

What types of physical therapy do you perform?

Appalachian Physical Therapy is primarily an outpatient orthopedic physical therapy office.  This means we see all types of sprains, strains and injuries of muscles, ligaments, bones and soft tissue.  This includes minor injuries at work, home, or those received from participating in sports.  Other areas of expertise are injuries of the jaw (TMJ), treatment of spinal disorders, evaluation of foot disorders/orthotics fabrication, treatment of lymphedema, women’s health, dry needling/intramuscular manual therapy, and ergonomic evaluations.  We also accommodate patients with neurological disorders from stroke to treating disorders such as multiple sclerosis.  Patients with Fibromyalgia are also seen with great results. Other services include wellness and prevention. This list is not inclusive and if you do not see your condition here or elsewhere on our website, please contact us to inquire.  Chances are we cover most all of your physical therapy needs!

How should I dress for my treatment sessions?

Most of the time you will be instructed to wear loose fitting clothing such as t-shirts and shorts or sweats.  Shorts and short sleeves are preferred as they allow therapists more access to arms and legs in order to more properly evaluate these areas of the body. There are places in our facilities where you can change should weather or other circumstances prevent you from coming appropriately dressed. 

Is physical therapy painful?

It can be, but it depends largely on what you are trying to accomplish.  Often the goal of physical therapy is to restore lost mobility to joints, muscles, and ligaments.  The severity of the problem, as well as the length of time it has existed, influence how difficult and even how uncomfortable regaining lost movement may be.  While soreness and discomfort during or after treatment can occur, this typically resolves within a day or two, allowing for continued progression with your program.  The overall goal is to experience a gradual reduction in pain or other initial complaints, as well as gradual improvement in movement and tolerance to activity and exercise. 

Will I have to do any exercises at home?

Almost always yes.  During treatment sessions the goals are typically to achieve gains in joint mobility, soft tissue flexibility, strength/endurance, and balance which all help you move better and feel better.  But often there are several days between visits, and these improvements are best maintained with the performance of specific home exercises prescribed by your physical therapist.  These exercises can not only help you maintain the gains achieved in treatment sessions, but even advance you further allowing for faster recovery.  These exercises are specifically tailored to your needs with consideration of the time constraints most of us face daily.  Performance of your program will ultimately improve your outcome, shorten your rehabilitation, and aid in saving you time and money.   

How long is each treatment session?

The initial visit is usually the longest due to an extensive history taking, examination, discussion/education as to the examination findings, and the establishment of a treatment plan.  This may take anywhere from 60 – 120 minutes depending on the situation. Follow-up visits are generally 30 – 90 minutes long, again depending on the situation. 

How many appointments will I have per week?

The number of visits per week will vary based on your condition, the type of treatment required (hands-on-manual therapy vs home based exercise program), and the number of visits requested by your referring practitioner (if applicable). Most frequently we recommend two visits per week but may cut this back to once per week or even less frequently depending on your condition and your progress. Sometimes referring practitioners will require 3 or more visits per week but this is generally is special cases.

How long will I need to come to therapy?

As with the number of visits per week, the duration of care will be dependent on your condition, your dedication to the performance of home exercises, and your response to treatment.

Insurance & Payment

Do I need a prescription from a physician to receive physical therapy?

You may consult a physical therapist directly for examination and treatment provided the physical therapist has direct access certification and your insurance does not require a referral (If you are utilizing Medicare you will need a referral). All physical therapists at Appalachian Physical Therapy have direct access certification.

What do I do regarding a pre-authorization if my insurance company requires it?

We will assist you in securing pre-authorization from your insurance company if required. If you are unsure whether your insurer requires this, refer to your benefits information or speak with our office staff who can help to clarify this.  Some insurers require that this be done prior to beginning therapy.  As authorization may take may take 24 hours or more to obtain, we ask that you allow us sufficient time to aid you in obtaining this so as to not cause delay or rescheduling of your treatment.

What happens if my insurance only authorizes a few visits and more are needed?

Policies vary, but usually additional visits can be obtained by submitting treatment notes or other paperwork to the insurer.  We will do our best to work with your insurer to obtain authorization without interruption to your treatment program, although approval or denial of requests is at their discretion.

How much will my insurance pay towards my visits?

Insurance coverage depends on your insurance carrier, whether your insurance is considered in-network, and if you have a deductible to meet.

General Office

Where are Appalachian Physical Therapy’s offices located?
  • Broadway Office is located just down the hill from Broadway High School beside the pharmacy at 171 East Springbrook Road. 
  • Harrisonburg Office is located between Martin’s supermarket and Kohl’s department store at 2035 East Market Street, Suite 45
    Harrisonburg, VA 22801
  • Pinehurst Office is located on 211-L Central Park Ave.
What are your hours of operation?

Office hours for all locations are 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the last appointment on certain days 4:30 p.m.

Do you have a cancellation policy?

We understand that unexpected circumstances may arise that interfere with your ability to keep a scheduled appointment.  If this occurs we ask that you notify our office as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment to a different time in the same day or another day.  Patients who consistently cancel/reschedule appointments or repeatedly do not show up for appointments will need to re-evaluated their ability to pursue physical therapy with their therapist before being allowed to schedule further appointments. 

Will you communicate with my referring practitioner (MD, DO, NP, PA) or should I?

We send initial examination findings and a discharge summary to your referring practitioner. We also provide correspondence for any scheduled follow up visits with this medical practitioner so they have a full understanding of your current progress in physical therapy.

Staff Education

Are physical therapists and physical therapist assistants licensed?

Yes.  The Virginia Board of Physical Therapy must license all physical therapists and   physical therapist assistants practicing in the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

What is the educational background of a physical therapist?

The profession of physical therapy continues to evolve to meet the needs of the consumer.  Years ago a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy was the standard.  Recognizing the need for more extensive training as the role of the physical therapist expanded, educational programs moved to a Master’s level of training.  Now most schools prepare students with an entry-level doctoral degree, which requires 3 years of post-graduate level studies.  All physical therapists are required to graduate from an accredited program of physical therapy before being eligible to sit for their state board examination. 

What is the educational background of a physical therapist assistant?

Currently a physical therapist assistant must earn an Associate’s Degree from a physical    therapist assistant program accredited by a national board.  After earned they can sit for their state board exam.

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