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Common Questions Asked at Bissell Clinic

Physical Therapy

What is a physical therapist?

Physical therapists are licensed by the state and are trained in treating musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, sports injuries, post-operative rehabilitation and massage therapy. They hold either a Master’s degree or Doctorate in physical therapy.

What is an occupational therapist?

Occupational therapists are licensed by the state and specialize in the treatment of the upper extremities and work injuries. The services provided by occupational therapists include patient education, joint range of motion, adaptive techniques, splinting and workplace evaluations.

What insurance do you accept?

We accept most PPO insurance policies. Call us with your insurance information and we will be happy to verify your coverage even prior to you scheduling an appointment.

Are the therapists Medicare Providers?

Yes, we are in-network with Medicare. Please call our office for details.

Do I need a referral from my doctor?

New laws allow patients to self-refer to a physical therapist. PPO insurances will cover physical therapy treatments without a prescription for 30 days or a total of 12 visits, whichever comes sooner. If continued treatment is required, it is the patient’s best interest to see a Chiropractor or MD for an examination and proper diagnosis. The will decide if you should continue physical therapy, receive diagnostic testing or refer you to another appropriate specialist. For patients with Medicare as their primary insurer, a prescription for physical therapy is required from a medical doctor in order for Medicare to pay for the services.

My doctor prescribed physical therapy but the form is for
another clinic. Can I still come to you?

Yes. You may go to the therapy clinic of your choice, regardless of where your doctor refers you.

What shall I wear?

You should wear or bring comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.

How long will the visit be?

Our therapy appointments are scheduled every 45 minutes. Most sessions run 45-60 minutes and are one-on-one with the physical therapist.

Will I work with the same therapist at each visit?

Yes, you will work with the same therapist at each visit and will be with that therapist for the entirety of your appointment. Since we are a small clinic, we are able to provide a high level of personalized care and this is one way that we do just that.

What happens at the first visit?

There will be some discussion about your health history and your current condition on the first visit. The therapist will evaluate your current problem, work with you to set goals for your therapy, and outline a treatment plan that will help you reach those goals.

How many visits can I receive?

Each insurance policy is different. At Bissell Clinic, we will verify your coverage prior to you beginning therapy and explain everything in advance. Please contact our office for more information on your specific situation.

Shockwave Therapy

What is Shockwave Therapy?

Shockwave Therapy is a relatively new treatment option in orthopedic and rehabilitation medicine. A clinical shockwave is nothing more than a controlled explosion that creates a sonic pulse, much like an airplane breaking the sound barrier. The primary effect of shockwave is a direct mechanical force. The exact mechanism by which shockwave therapy acts to treat tendon pathology is not known. The leading explanation is based on the inflammatory healing response. It is felt the shockwave causes micro trauma to the diseased tendon tissue. This results in inflammation, which allows the body to send healing cells and increase the blood flow to the injured site.

How will Shockwave therapy help me?

Shockwave therapy is used to treat many orthopedic conditions, including plantar fasciitis (heel spurs), patella tendinitis (jumper’s knee), lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medical epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), shoulder tendinitis, bursitis, and Achilles tendon pain.

What should I expect during the treatment?

The shockwave machine delivers pressure waves through your skin using a soft gel “applicator” and ultrasound gel. The applicator focuses the pressure waves directly on the affected area. The treatment usually takes between 10-20 minutes. Most patients report a “dull, tooth-achey” feeling when the applicator hits the injured area.

What will I feel like after the treatment?

This varies for each person. Some report immediate relief in the hours immediately following the treatment. Others report feeling slightly sore. It is recommended that you do not use ice or anti-inflammatory medicines after the treatments, as the point is to let your body heal the inflammation caused by the micro traumas naturally. Soreness does not mean that the treatment was ineffective or has exacerbated your condition.

How long will it take for my pain to go away?

This varies for each person. We recommend a total of 6-7 treatments, and we have found that people start to notice a decrease in their pain after the forth or fifth appointment.

Do I need to minimize my activity level while going through the treatments?

We do recommend that you avoid over-use of the affected body party in the weeks you are going through treatment. This is because the shockwave is creating micro traumas to the area, and you need to give your body a chance to heal itself.

Decompression Therapy

What is Decompression Therapy and how will it help me?

Simply described, this is a sophisticated traction device. During each session, there are multiple cycles of distraction (stretching) and relaxation. Old-fashion Traction would stretch the spine to maximum capacity and hold the stretch for an extended duration. Decompression Therapy is different because the wave-like motion of stretching and relaxing fosters a phenomenon called “imbibition.” Since the discs have no direct blood supply it makes them difficult to heal, however; the pumping action (imbibition) achieved by Decompression actually draws the blood and nutrients into the disc, which helps it heal from the inside out. Also, the dramatic decrease of pressure in the disc can foster the drawing in of a bulge and help take pressure off a “pinched” spinal nerve.

What should I expect during the treatment?

The computer system applies a gentle force then releases it approximately every minute throughout the session. The total treatment time is usually less than 20 minutes. Most patients report feeling a gentle stretching and a sense of relief during the session.

What will I feel like after the treatment?

This varies for each person. Some people report feeling taller and lighter and relieved of their pain. Others have reported feeling sore immediately after the treatment or the following day. If one does experience soreness, we recommend icing the area for 10-15 minutes. Soreness does not mean the treatment was ineffective or has exacerbated your condition. It is simply caused from stretching tight, guarded muscles that have been restricted for an extended period of time.

How long will it take to get out of pain?

Although most patients report dramatic reduction of the pain within as few as five minutes, an injured spinal disc needs time to heal. This is why we urge you to follow your prescribed treatment plan. We ask that patients commit to completing a minimum of 20 sessions. Even for those that obtain pain relief early on, the remaining sessions will speed the healing of the injured disc and help them to return to their regular activities sooner.

What about exercises and stretching?

Many people wonder if working out or performing yoga after decompression therapy will “undo” the benefits of the treatment. The answer is no. Exercise recommendations will vary with each patient based on their plan level.


Bissell Clinic FAQs | (805) 565-5252