Patient Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers!)

What do I need to bring with me to the first appointment?

  • Please bring your driver's license, health insurance card and a prescription or referral from your physician if you have one. To speed up the process, you may download our forms and fill them out ahead of time to bring to your appointment.


Do I need a prescription from a doctor?

  • Maryland has been a direct access state for physical therapy since 1979. This means that state law says you can see a physical therapist without a physician referral. That said, not all insurances will approve physical therapy without a referral. A good rule of thumb is: If you do not need a referral to see a specialist than you do not need one to see us. All physical therapists go through 7 years of medical education to be able to recognize if your condition is more than musculoskeletal. If we find that this is the case, we can refer you to the appropriate physician.


Do I need a referral?

  • You may, depending on your insurance plan you may. If your insurance requires you to have a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialists, you will most likely need one to see us as well. If you have any questions, please call our front office staff.


What should I wear?

  • Each patient's treatment is different but a good rule of thumb is to wear loose, comfortable clothing and athletic shoes. Patients with a lower extremity injury should wear either shorts or pants that can be pulled up above the knee. Shoulder patients should wear a loose shirt or tank top.


How long do appointments last?

  • Appointments usually last about an hour. As you progress with your therapy and exercises are advanced, your session time may increase as well.


Is it going to hurt?

  • Unfortunately, pain may be part of the recovery process but physical therapy is not about inflicting pain. You can expect an open conversation regarding pain and how much pain is OK. At OSPT, we use mobilization techniques that aim to minimize the amount of pain you experience.


Should I take my pain medication before coming to therapy?

  • We want you to be comfortable during your session. Pre-medicating is up to you, your doctor and your therapist.


Are you open on the weekends?

  •  No, we are open Monday-Friday for physical therapy appointment.


Do I need an appointment or can I just come whenever?

  • Yes, you need an appointment for physical therapy.


What happens if I have to cancel?

  • There is a $25 charge for cancellations with less than 24 hours notice and for no-show appointments. Feel free to call and leave a message the night before if you know you cannot make your appointment the next day.


My prescription says “2-3 times per week”. How do I know how many to schedule?

  • For new patients, our receptionist will only schedule your initial evaluation appointment. After your evaluation, your therapist will outline a plan of care and let you know how frequently you should visit. You can schedule your follow up appointments at that time.


Will you do any treatment at the initial evaluation appointment?

  • Depending on how long the evaluation portion takes, we will typically start treatment on the first visit.


Do you give exercises for at home?

  • Depending on the condition and treatment plan, most patients will receive a home exercise program. There are cases where at-home exercise may not be recommended right away.


Will I have the same therapist every visit?

  • New patients are assigned to a treatment team based on their evaluating therapist. Teams consist of a physical therapist, a physical therapist assistant and a rehab tech. You will remain with this team during the duration of your care. In certain circumstances, i.e. returning to work, or the need for more specialized care, you may be transferred to another team. But your team will be consistent which allows for improved continuity of care. 


Can my spouse/friend/child come to therapy with me?

  • Family members are allowed back during the initial evaluation, especially with post-surgical patients, in order to hear the treatment plan or receive instructions on how to help with the home exercise program. After the initial session, due to liability reasons, we ask that your loved ones remain in the waiting room during your treatment session. Parents of minor children are allowed to be with their child during treatment.


Can I leave my children in the waiting room during my therapy session?

  • If your child is old enough to sit independently, they may remain in the waiting room. Please remember this is a medical office.