Clearwater Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy FAQ’s

Who is a physical therapist?

Physical therapists are highly trained medical professionals that provide rehabilitation care for patients who are recovering from surgery, injury or flare-ups of chronic problems. Physical therapists also are trained to fit patients for sports braces, build orthotics, provide home health services and perform fitness and health assessments. Physical therapists are licensed to perform spinal mobilizations and manipulations, if indicated, in Montana.

Can I see a physical therapist directly or do I have to go to my doctor first?

In the state of Montana, as well as in 48 other states, patients can see a physical therapist directly for any problem and their insurance will cover the care. It is the therapists’ responsibility to recognize if the patient is an appropriate candidate for physical therapy or if they need additional services outside the physical therapy scope of practice. An exception to this rule is for patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or Worker’s Compensation coverage. These insurance programs require that patients received a referral from a Medical Doctor before starting physical therapy care.

Will my insurance pay for my physical therapy care?

Yes. Nearly all insurance plans offer some level of physical therapy coverage. Typically, an insurer will designate a monetary per year benefit (such as $2000/year) or a number of covered visits per year (such as 20 visits/year) to be used for physical therapy care. Clearwater Therapeutics is a preferred Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana provider, and is also able to bill most other private insurances. We are able to treat patients whose benefits fall under Medicare, Medicaid, Worker’s Compensation and Auto Insurance coverage.

What if I don’t have insurance? Can I still receive physical therapy treatment?

Our company will not turn away patients if they do not have currently have insurance coverage. We have cash pay prices already in place for the convenience of those without insurance coverage, and our billing office is able to set up payment plans to aid our patients in budgeting their resources.

What should I wear to physical therapy?

Work-out clothes are generally a great choice of attire for a physical therapy visit. If you are receiving treatment for an injury to the lower extremity, leg, hip, knee, ankle or foot, please bring a pair of shorts to allow easy examination of this area.  Ladies that are receiving treatment for problems of the neck or shoulder may want to wear a tank top or sports bra to allow easy examination of the area.

How long will my physical therapy visits take?

The first visit of physical therapy is typically the longest as you will have a comprehensive examination.  This visit usually takes approximately 60 minutes. Following this visit, you will collaborate with your physical therapist to establish your treatment plan.  Physical therapy visits range from 30-60 minutes depending on the scope of the condition that is being treated. Patients are typically seen 2-3 days a week, but some conditions may require more frequent visits. Our goal is to make your physical therapy care a convenient and efficient series of appointments.

What conditions does a physical therapist treat?

Orthopedic physical therapists are trained to diagnose, treat and manage disorders of the musculo-skeletal and nervous system. Many of our patients are seen for conditions related to sports injury; however others seek for treatment for chronic or disease conditions.

Here is a partial list of injuries and conditions treated in physical therapy pre- and post-operatively. Patients often receive physical therapy care to prepare them for surgery, and then come back for rehabilitative services following surgical repair. If you have an injury or condition that is not listed, please contact our office at to inquire about treatment.