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What happens after PT?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,321
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Exercise and Rehab
I'm wondering how many people are cut short on their physical therapy by insurance limitations and what happens when you feel you still need the support, accountability, and especially the guidance while increasing exercises and activities. My therapist and I have have had the frustration of being cut short twice now. We've gotten only so far as to reduce the spasms and pain, but have not really finished getting the flexibility I need and we have not begun the strengthening we both feel I need to support my low back. I'm doing what exercises I can at home, but the stretches require his work. I'm working full time and going to school in the evenings, so fitting in time for the health club is difficult, and besides - with my tendency to either overdo things or become complacent when I feel no change, I could surely get myself into more trouble!
I'm incredibly frustrated knowing that insurance will pay thousands for surgery, but will cut me off when it comes to preventative therapy for which my co-pay is 250% higher than what they have to pay after their "discount". With the actual bill for my sessions at approximately $200 each, and these are twice a week, there is no way I can afford to continue it on my own. The co-pays have been hard enough!
Any feedback, suggestions? :?


  • $200 sounds on the high side, but it is consistent with what is charged to my therapist #1, covered by insurance. because I have jaw problems from being in a brace for so long, I found therapist #2 through my oral surgeon. she works for herself and charges $150 which I am paying myself (since insurance won't cover both) - but going every other week for about six sessions. she gives me lots of exercises and things to focus on.

    so not a perfect solution, but something to think about.
  • Chicago? I'm in the western suburbs! $210 was the tops, most of the sessions were $190. I've been to two different providers and the fees have been about the same - actually higher at the previous one, and I'm actually getting more for my money at this one.
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  • You could try cutting down to once week or even once a fortnight if you have to pay yourself but getting your physical therapist to give you as many stretching and core muscle building exercises to do at home as you can do.

    However, this is really far less than perfect particularly if you require a lot of actually therapy.

    Good luck... Bruce
    Keep positive!


    ...an old timer here and ex-moderator

  • Thanks Bruce. I didn't know if that was an option, but I that thought crossed my mind. I sure can't afford to go twice a week like I have been the best I could do would be every other week, if the bill is as high as $200. I feel like the ultrasound, stim and the stretches made the big difference and I wonder if I would have enough benefit if the sessions were that far apart. Since the insurance company is able to get a discounted rate, is there any chance that since I am paying cash, I could get the rate discounted? Have you ever heard of that? I seems to make sense to me!
  • my therapist has an office in Hinsdale, and one downtown if you are interested, 312-986-9833

    good luck, I think particularly with independent providers, you may be able to work something out, like a certain # of sessions for a certain price ...

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  • My physical therapist gives a cash discount. You should ask because a lot of people in the medical industry do give a cash discount.
  • Kathe,

    Another idea is to ask the therapist about a TENS unit. If stim is working for you, then TENS should and that would also be something you could do at home, not requiring a trip to PT.

  • Kathe,
    Having done some of the skills and techniques you should be able to continue to do these at home and only extend them in small increments and evaluate the physical response before moving forward, keep under that elusive threshold where ever that is ! pace well and rest when needed. With that knowledge try not to overdo things and keep that capacity for another day, it is easy to become disillusioned once the associated exercise pain increases and is seen at the main reason people stop, you pace every day anyway.

    As spine patient’s activity of this type is intended to become a lifestyle change, into an overall strategy for the future. The key is to keep doing some rather than none, our PM residential we had a circuit of simple achievable activities, bending sitting and standing can sometimes be a problem and attempting to increase your heart rate which should be your long term objective may take some out of the box thinking, be active as and when those windows of opportunity allow.

    Praise yourself, for doing activity while in pain has to be experienced to know the true gravity of its impact and keep going.

    Take care you are going in the right direction.

  • Have your Dr. write a Rx for a tenz unit, my insurance co paid 100% of it. Medical supply stores carry them, sometimes you can rent them, but you have to buy pkgs of the sticky tabs but they do stick for several uses before you need to replace them. They really do help alot, next step down from the E-stem at the PT.
  • I agree with the above. You can see if your doc will write a prescription for Tens unit to use at home. I understand about treatment in conjunction with exercise. I had tried almost everything individually and not until I foung a PT that does it all did I get any pain relief that lasted.
    The other suggestion is to see if your PT has an aftercare program. I pay $60/mo to go in and use their equipment and get help with assisted exercises like roll ups. I can go as many times a week as I want. If I need actual treatment (stim, ultrasound, massage or spinal adjustment) then I would have to pay for that, but that's on an as needed basis.

    Good luck and don't give up! If exercise is helping and the PT doesn't work out...see if you can buddy up with someone to hold you accountable.

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