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FAQs

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here at SOL Physical Therapy + Performance Training.

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I schedule physical therapy at SOL?

To get started, please call us at 510-547-1630 to schedule a physical therapy evaluation.  For detailed information on what you’ll need to schedule your first appointment, please click here.

2. Does SOL accept insurance?

Yes!

  • SOL accepts most major PPOs, workers’ compensation, auto insurance, and Medicare Part B.
  • We do not accept any HMOs, Medi-Cal, or Kaiser.

These are general guidelines. For more detailed information, please click here.

3. Will all of my treatment be covered by my insurance?

Coverage varies on a company-by-company, and plan-by-plan basis. Your expected contribution will depend upon which insurance company holds your plan, and which plan you have within that company.

Much of the physical therapy you receive is billable to insurance, and will be covered as per the guidelines set forth by your individual insurance plan.

Certain treatment modalities we use can be billed to insurance, but may not be fully covered. When a physical therapist feels you would benefit from one of these modalities, they will obtain your consent before proceeding. After consent, you will be responsible for any portion of the modality not covered by insurance.

4. Why is SOL out of network with my insurance?

Every decision we make at SOL revolves around our mission:

Helping active individuals reach their performance goals.

We help our patients reach their goals by taking the time to customize a treatment plan specific to their unique case, and by modifying that customized treatment plan as they progress.

If we aren’t in network with your insurance company, it’s because their allowable rate does not enable us to spend enough time with you. If we took your insurance, we would have to modify our successful model around the insurance company.

We want to continue to help patients be successful, and we want to work for you, not your insurance company.

If we aren’t in network with you insurance, we offer ways to help you manage the cost of visits, and we are happy to provide everything you need to submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

5. Do I need a physician’s referral before receiving treatment?

Legally, no. The Direct Access law makes it so that you can access physical therapy services without a referral from a doctor. Please click here to read more about how direct access works.

6. If I don’t have a referral, will insurance cover the cost of my treatment?

Insurance carriers honor direct access on a plan-by-plan basis. We recommend you call your insurance carrier for more information. For a guide on how this works, click here.

7. How many physical therapy visits will I need?

This really depends upon your goals and condition.

If your issue is simple, you could need only a few sessions. If your issue is chronic or complex, it could require 12 sessions or more.

During your initial physical therapy evaluation, your physical therapist will estimate how long it will take to help you reach your stated goals.  As you go through this estimated plan of care, your physical therapist will adjust the estimate as you progress.

8. How long do visits last?

Based on your needs, visits times will vary slightly from session to session.

For your physical therapy evaluation, we recommend you set aside 1-2 hours to complete all the necessary paperwork and orientation steps.

Your follow-up visits should be around 1 hour in total. Complex cases may take more time.

9. What should I wear to my treatment sessions?

Here are some pointers for choosing what to wear to your sessions:

  • Clothing you can move in.
    • i.e. Clothes you might wear to the gym or on a run.
  • Loose clothing that can be moved aside to access the site of your injury/issue.
    • Example: Have a knee injury? Shorts are a great idea. Low back issue? Wear a loose t-shirt instead of a tight tank-top
  • Comfortable, flat soled shoes.

10. Which physical therapist should I see?

Physical Therapists are only asked to become a part of the SOL team when we feel they have the skills, training, and drive to rehabilitate any injury or issue.

We are confident that all of our physicals therapists will provide high quality, effective care.

If you still would like more information on what our PTs have to offer, we welcome you to visit our team page.  If you still have questions or would like recommendations beyond what our team page can offer, please contact us.

Questions About Scheduling

How soon can I schedule a physical therapy evaluation?

For new patients with flexible schedules, we generally have open availability for physical therapy evaluations between 24 and 48 hours from the time you call us to schedule.

If your schedule is more limited, or if you have a particular physical therapist in mind, we may have to look farther in the future to accommodate an evaluation that matches your needs.

What is the earliest I can schedule appointments? The latest?

Your Evaluation Appointment Can Begin:

Earliest: 8:00 am
Latest: 4:00 pm

Be Aware: We schedule evaluation appointments during these hours to ensure a member of the administrative staff will be present to process all your paperwork.

Your Follow-Up Appointments Can Begin:

Earliest: 7:00 am
Latest: 6:00 pm

Be Aware: We offer PT between the hours of 7a and 7p, Monday – Friday, although most of our PTs practice between the hours of 9a and 5p.  For physical therapist availability, please check out our team page.

How far in advance should I schedule my follow-up appointments?

We recommend you schedule all the appointments indicated on your prescription, referral, or plan of care right away.

If you are coming to the end of your first set of scheduled appointments, we recommend booking additional appointments 1 -2 weeks in advance.

Although our front desk coordinators will do everything possible to ensure you have a consistent physical therapy schedule, we cannot guarantee there will be space for your appointments if you do not schedule them ahead of time.

Can I cancel or reschedule appointments?

Physical therapy works best when you make it a priority and stick to your plan of care. But we understand that life happens, and sometimes you need to move appointments around.

Our cancellation policy is as follows:

We are happy to move or cancel any appointments so long as you give us more than 24 hours notice.

Within 24 hours, there will be a cancellation fee of $65.  This fee is not billable to insurance, and is due at your next visit.

I just found out I can’t make my next appointment! What do I do?

Give us a call right away. If you give us more than 24 hours notice, we will take your next appointment off the schedule, move it to another open appointment that same week, or move it to the end of your scheduled visits.

SOL Front Desk Coordinator Wisdom: Did you get routed to our voicemail? Leave a message and your reason for cancelling (especially if it’s over the weekend or when we’re closed). As long as we have a time stamp proving that you called more than 24 hours in advance, you will not be charged a cancellation fee.

Is your appointment less than 24 hours away? Give us a call right away. If we can reschedule you to another appointment the same day or if we can can find another patient to fill your spot, the cancellation fee will be waived.

I’m running late! What do I do?

Call us right away, and let us know how late you think you’ll be.

Depending on how late you’re running, we will do the following:

  • Less Than 15 mins: We will alert your physical therapist that you’re running behind schedule, and we will ask them if there are any specific instructions we should give you to expedite the start of your visit upon arrival.
  • More Than 15 mins: At this point, your physical therapist will be unable to see you, and this appointment is considered a “No-Show.” You will be charged the $65 cancellation fee unless we can reschedule your appointment to later the same day.

What happens if it’s been a long time since my last visit, but I want to come in for the same case?

If it’s been less than 30 days, we’re happy to schedule you for your regular follow-up visit.

If it has been more than 30 days,we will have to re-evaluate your case. This means the following:

  1. We will have to schedule for a re-evaluation appointment.
  2. If you’re paying for physical therapy out-of-pocket, you will need to pay the evaluation rate for your visit.
  3. If you’re using insurance, we will need an updated referral from your doctor to ensure we can bill your insurance (in most cases, you can call your doctor and ask them to fax an updated referral directly to our Oakland or Walnut Creek offices).

Why do you need to re-evaluate me if it’s been more than 30 days since my last visit?

A lot can change in a body in 30 days. If our goal is to help you get better, and avoid making things worse, we need to take the extra time to see how those 30 days have changed what’s happening in your body.

I get physical therapy from one of your traveling physical therapists. Where is my next appointment?

Visit our team page, click on your physical therapist, and check out their schedule. (While you’re there, bookmark the page for easy future access!)

You can also give us a call, and one of our front desk coordinators will be happy to let you know whether you’ll be at our Main Office, Sol Performance, or Walnut Creek.

Why don’t your reminder calls tell me my appointment location?

The scheduling software that we use, unfortunately, does not allow us to specify the location of your visit. If you have an appointment at Sol Performance (3900 Piedmont Avenue, the building with the blue roof), you should get a phone call from one our front desk coordinators the day before your visit to remind you.

My physician referred me to another physical therapy clinic. Can I still come to SOL for physical therapy?

Of course!  Physicians often recommend physical therapists based on relationships that they’ve built with those other providers. If you feel that SOLPT is a better match for your needs, you can bring your physician’s referral to us, and we will honor it. We will also be happy to speak with your physician about your choice, if needed.

Be Aware: Some physicians will you refer you to certain physical therapy clinics because they know that particular clinic or provider accepts your insurance. Although we are happy to serve any patients who want to receive our services, we may be out-of-network with your insurance. To learn more about which insurances we accept, click here.

Physical Therapy Questions

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is an evidence-based and conservative healthcare option for management of virtually all neuro, muscular, and skeletal conditions.

Let’s break that down:

Evidence-Based: Scientifically proven to work.
Conservative Healthcare Option: Non surgical, and non-pharmaceutical based treatment.
Neuro, Muscular, and Skeletal Conditions: Bodily conditions that can lead to pain or limited movement.

In other words, physical therapy is scientifically proven to help you manage bodily conditions that lead to pain or limited movement without turning to drugs or surgery.

Why should I see a physical therapist?

Physical therapists are specialists in helping people afflicted with nuero, muscular, and skeletal conditions to regain normal movement patterns, functional abilities, and pain-free daily life.

How does physical therapy work?

Physical therapy works through a combination of the following:

  • Hands-on treatment: Your physical therapists will assess your body, and physically manipulate it to help reduce pain and increase your range of motion.
  • Monitored Exercise: After hands-on treatment, you will run through a series of exercises, while being monitored for form and effort by one of our physical therapy aides.
  • Home Exercise: You will continue to progress by repeating the exercise you practiced here on site. (See the next FAQ below for more information).
  • Education: Our physical therapists will consistently teach you what you need to know to heal, exercise correctly, and prevent future injury.

Will my physical therapy only happen at SOL’s physical therapy facility? Or do I have to do work at home too?

Some cases may require that you only need to do work while at our facility. Most cases will require what our therapists like to call “Homework” (which is a euphemism for a Home Exercise Program).

A home exercise program is a set of prescribed exercises that are central to helping with a full and timely recovery. If your physical therapist prescribes an HEP, we recommend you follow it in order to get better.

Does Physical Therapy hurt?

There is good pain, and there is bad pain. Sometimes manual manipulation may cause pain, discomfort, or soreness. The exercises that you’re doing are training your body to move in a new way, and you may be sore afterward as well.  As you go through physical therapy, your physical therapist will help you understand and identify the difference between good pain and bad pain.

Sol Physical Therapy Wisdom: Physical therapy is just like emotional therapy. By mindfully exposing yourself to some pain and discomfort now, you build the strength and awareness to help you avoid worse pain in the future.

I don’t remember doing anything forceful or traumatic. Can you explain why I’m in pain?

You can sustain injury through macrotrauma, or through microtrauma.

Macrotrauma is a major event: falling off a ladder, breaking a leg, etc. In your case, this is probably not what is causing your pain.

Microtruama is slow, sustained injury that often goes unnoticed for week, months, or even years. The accumulated microtrauma eventually manifests as pain or dysfunction. Examples of microtrauma are repetitive stress syndrome and tennis elbow.

If you are experiencing pain and you’re not sure why you hurt, SOL physical therapists are trained to understand and treat both macrotrauma and microtrauma. Through a physical therapy evaluation, SOL physical therapists will be able to help you understand what may be the underlying cause to your pain.

What happens if my problem recurrs? Can I come back to see my physical therapist?

Exacerbations and flare-ups are not uncommon with musculoskeletal injuries. If you have a flare-up, we definitely want you to give us a call. We may suggest that you come back in to see us for a brief assessment, or we may recommend that you visit your personal physician. Either way, we are here for you anytime you need us, and we are more than happy to help.

If it’s been more than 30 days since you’ve seen us, you will need a re-evaluation for your case. Click here to learn more.

Can physical therapists provide me with a diagnosis?

In most states, physical therapists are not licensed to make a medical diagnosis. Physical therapists are trained, however to determine the cause of neuro, muscular, and skeletal conditions based on a thorough history and physical examination. This is often referred to as a “functional diagnosis,” which will be used by the physical therapist to craft a customized plan of treatment consistent with your functional goals.

Active Release Techniques® Questions

What is Active Release Technique®?

Active Release Technique® (ART®) is a specialized soft tissue intervention that effectively minimizes the development of scar tissue and adhesions which follow injury. Scarring and tissue adhesions which occur in the soft tissue of the body can lead to pain, weakness, immobility, and generalized dysfunction – all of which are addressed through the use of the specialized ART® approach.

Where did Active Release Technique® come from?

Active Release Technique® was developed and patented by Dr. Michael Leahy. Through the course of practice, Dr. Leahy came to understand that many of his patients’ symptoms were related to changes in soft tissue – changes that could be palpated (felt by hand). Through clinical exploration, Dr. Leahy developed an approach – the Active Release Technique® approach – which resolved his patients’ symptoms through specialized manual intervention within the soft tissues.

Who can benefit from Active Release Technique®?

Anyone suffering from a soft tissue dysfunction caused by repetitive strain or overused muscles can benefit from Active Release Technique®.

What is the difference between Active Release Technique® and traditional massage therapy?

While ART® and massage therapy are complementary therapies, Active Release Technique® is distinctly different from massage in its focus on the presence of scar tissue. ART® effectively minimizes the restrictions imposed by scar tissue by reducing adhesions in muscular tissue, whereas massage therapy does not focus on this element of the muscular tissue.

As a patient, what should I expect during Active Release Technique® sessions?

Active Release Technique® is a safe and conservative approach to scar tissue, which is addressed by external manipulation of adhesions within your muscles. To achieve the benefits associated with ART®, manual pressure on the skin and underlying tissues will be felt. This pressure can be uncomfortable at times, especially within the first couple of sessions. As adhesions are released, a temporary duplication of the pain associated with your injury may be experienced. When this occurs, this is evidence that the correct issue has been identified b your ART® provider, and that a positive outcome is on its way.

Are injuries likely to return following Active Release Technique® therapy?

Part of the therapy provided by SOL Physical Therapy always involves helping you to avoid future episodes of similar injury. As such, you will be provided with specific instructions regarding home exercises and interventions which will act as an important adjunct to your in-clinic therapies. Your level of compliance with these instructions, as well as your willingness to avoid the repetitive movements which caused your initial injury will determine whether or not you remain injury free.

Can Active Release Technique® help me to perform better?

You bet! One of the core benefits of ART® is its ability to help improve your performance by optimizing the function of your muscular system. By reducing the adhesions and restrictions in your muscular tissue, your body will be able to move more efficiently, generating more speed and power than is possible when muscular adhesions are intact.