Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions here at SOL Santa Cruz.
Will my treatment be covered by insurance?
SOL SANTA CRUZ contracts with many insurance companies in the Santa Cruz area and most chiropractic and physical therapy services are covered under the insurance contracts we hold. Non-chiropractic and non-physical therapy services (SOL Performance fitness, Pilates, Massage Therapy, Light Therapies and Wellness) are not routinely covered by insurance however, and you will most likely be responsible for payment of these services.
Do I need a physician referral before receiving treatment?
For Chiropractic evaluation and treatment, a referral is not generally necessary. Most often a referral is necessary for physical therapy. If you do not have a referral our SOL SC Chiropractors can initially evaluate you injury and provide a physical therapy referral for you.
A physician referral is not necessary prior to receiving any of the services provided by SOL Santa Cruz. In instances where physician referral is required in order to bill your insurance company, we will gladly submit documentation to your physician for required signature.
What should I wear to my treatment sessions?
Wear comfortable, preferably loose-fitting, clothing to your sessions. You may be asked to change into a gown or clothing that we have on-hand if your clothing restricts movement or visibility required of your clinical provider.
What is a Sports Chiropractor and how are they different?
All Sports Chiropractors have obtained board certification in sports injuries and rehabilitation from either the 100-hour post-graduate Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP) program or the 300-hour Diplomate of the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians (DACBSP). The CCSP designation requires a written test and CPR certification, while the DACBSP requires a written test, CPR certification, a practical exam, 100 hours of on-field experience, and a paper either accepted for publication by a peer reviewed journal or an abstract presentation at the ACBSP’s annual symposium. Training includes emergency procedures, taping, advanced diagnostic procedures, diagnostic imaging, extremity management, rehabilitation, sports psychology, nutrition, and other sports related topics.
Sports chiropractors generally have training in cutting edge techniques such as Active Release Techniques® (ART), the Graston Technique, Kinesiotaping, Rock Tape, FAKTR, Neurokinetic Therapy, the Functional Movement Screen (FMS), the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), and others. As a result, many sports chiropractors have busy practices treating both athletes and active people of all ages.
Sports chiropractors are leading the charge of chiropractic into the mainstream. By becoming an integral part of the sports medicine team, sports chiropractors are becoming highly sought after specialists by both athletes and active patients.
What is a soft tissue injury?
A soft-tissue injury involves damage to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and/or myofascia. Sprains and strains are the most common soft-tissue injuries and are the result of either a trauma, such as falling or twisting an ankle, or repetitive use, such as a person who plays tennis five times a week and develops pain in his or her shoulder. The most common soft tissue injuries either come from misuse (using the wrong muscles to complete the activity) or overuse (using a muscle too much without proper recovery).
What Is Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM)?
Though doctors of chiropractic (DCs) have always used their hands to increase blood flow and break up restrictions in injured soft tissue, fingers alone can’t detect restrictions at deeper levels or treat the full range of restrictions. Because of this, several companies have now developed handheld tools to perform instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization. The use of instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization (IASTM) is on the rise among health care practitioners.
Graston and FAKTR are the leading techniques when it comes to IASTM. They have developed stainless steel instruments of various shapes and sizes. Though many different materials have been used to make the instruments—wood, ceramics, plastics, stone—stainless steel appears to be the best, says soft-tissue expert Warren Hammer, DC, DABCO, who practices in Norwalk, Conn. “Stainless steel instruments have the highest resonation and make it easier to feel both local and broad areas of tissue restriction,” he continues. “Using the tools produces outcomes that are equal to, or better than, palpation by hands.”
What is chiropractic adjustment?
The chiropractic adjustment is a gentle, quick thrust to a particular joint, typically in the spine, intended to restore normal joint position and movement. Usually done by hand, it can also be done with instruments or other specialized equipment.
Will adjustments hurt?
Some individuals may be sore after being adjusted, or experience temporary discomfort in the parts of the body that were treated. This, however, is the exception and most people feel better very quickly after being adjusted.
How many adjustments will I need?
The total number of adjustments you need depends on five main factors. 1) your age 2) your overall health 3) the severity of your condition, 4) how long you have had your condition and 5) what your ultimate goals are. If you are young, in good health and have a mild condition that occurred recently, you will need far fewer adjustments than if you are older, in poor health and have been struggling with a problem for many years. The total number of adjustments you will need also depends on whether you are just interested in reducing the pain you are currently experiencing, or are interested in creating long-term health.
Do I still need to see the chiropractor if my pain is gone?
It is very common for pain to disappear long before the total correction of your condition is attained. Pain is often not a very good indicator of health. Often times people are completely unaware of problems that are developing in them because there is no pain associated with the condition. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, can not have any symptoms at all until they have become very advanced. The same is true with cavities in your teeth. There is usually no pain until the cavity becomes severe. The point is that just because you are no longer experiencing pain, does not mean that your problem no longer exists. It is important to continue being treated so that the underlying cause of the pain can be corrected.
Routine chiropractic care is one of the simplest ways to maintain the health of your body. Numerous research studies have shown that people who receive regular chiropractic care suffer fewer illnesses, injuries and degenerative diseases, and they report a better overall quality of life.
The bottom line is that chiropractic care is a safe, effective treatment for a wide range of physical complaints, such as headaches, neck pain, low back pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle pain, scoliosis, and a host of other problems. While most of these disorders resolve within a few weeks or months, routine chiropractic care will help ensure optimal health for life.
Are chiropractors real doctors?
Chiropractors are licensed as medical health care providers in every U.S. state and dozens of countries around the world. While the competition to attend chiropractic school is not as fierce as medical school, the chiropractic and medical curriculum are very similar. In fact, in certain subjects, chiropractors actually have more hours of education than their medical counterparts. Chiropractors also complete approximately nine hundred hours of work in a clinical setting. Once chiropractic students graduate, they have to pass four sets of national board exams as well as state board exams in the states they want to practice. Just like conventional medical doctors, chiropractors are medical professionals that are subject to the same testing, licensing and monitoring by state and national peer-reviewed boards. Federal and State programs, such as Medicare, and Worker’s Compensation cover chiropractic and all federal agencies accept sick-leave certificates signed by doctors of chiropractic.
Once you go to a chiropractor, will you have to keep going the rest of your life?
This is a statement we frequently hear when the topic of chiropractic care comes up in conversation. Going to a chiropractor is much like going to the dentist or eating a healthier diet. As long as you keep it up, you will continue to maintain the health of your neuromusculoskeletal system. Many years ago, dentists convinced everyone that routine dental care will help your teeth remain healthy for a long time. It is important to remember that just like your teeth, your spine experiences normal wear and tear as you walk, drive, sit, lift and bend. Regular chiropractic care can help you feel better, move with more freedom, and stay healthier throughout your lifetime.
What is chiropractic wellness care?
Health care goes beyond getting rid of symptoms or disease; it is about having enough health so that problems don’t return. Chiropractic Wellness Care focuses on each individual by assessing and identifying specific health risks and implementing lifestyle modifications that will enable the individual to better manage their risks and minimize serious health problems. Lifestyle modifications from a chiropractic perspective include nutritional support, exercise, and regular spinal adjustments.
How often are patients seen for chiropractic wellness care?
Regular spinal adjustments help support the final stages of healing, and help detect, and resolve new problems before they become serious. While in the wellness stage of care, most patients receive one chiropractic treatment every four to six weeks which provides adequate ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function.
Physical Therapy Questions
What should I bring to my first physical therapy visit?
On your first visit to SOL Santa Cruz for physical therapy services, please bring your insurance card, any medical or other records that you would like us to review, your referral for physical therapy from your physician (if you have one), and the intake forms required for your first visit (these forms can be downloaded here).
What should I wear to my physical therapy appointment?
Your first appointment will likely include some physical activity and movement analysis. For patients with lower body injuries, shorts or sweat pants are preferred. T-shirts or tank tops are best for upper body or shoulder conditions.
What should I expect during my first physical therapy visit?
If possible, we ask that you please arrive five to ten minutes early to your first appointment. You will be greeted by our friendly receptionist and we will get your paperwork going so that your physical therapist can address your clinical needs and our administrative staff can process your insurance billing (if appropriate).
During your first visit to SOL Santa Cruz, you’ll be evaluated by a physical therapist and asked certain questions about your condition and medical history. We will ask you detailed questions including how the pain started and what activities aggravate or ease your condition. Following this question and answer session, a thorough physical examination will be performed. The physical therapist will evaluate your strength, mobility and physical performance. Special tests, movement and functional tests may also be performed.
Possible causes or origins of the problem are discussed with you, and significant findings are outlined in detail. A plan of care is then recommended and is based on your specific goals. Once identified, a goal-directed treatment plan is formulated from which we will then work together to achieve over the course of your physical therapy treatment.
How often will I need to come to physical therapy at SOL Santa Cruz?
Most patients at SOL Santa Cruz require one to two treatment sessions per week over a period of four to six weeks. For severe conditions, treatment may extend over a longer period, however this is highly individualized depending upon the nature of the condition and the goals identified during your evaluation session.
How long does each physical therapy session last?
Most physical therapy sessions last approximately 60 minutes.
Can I see a physical therapist at SOL Santa Cruz without seeing my physician first?
For wellness purposes in the state of California, physical therapists can see clients for fitness, conditioning, performance enhancement, and maintenance care without a physician referral or prescription. If you are seeking physical therapy care following an injury, we can recommend a physician to you in order to obtain a prescription or referral for physical therapy if appropriate. Physical therapists at SOL Santa Cruz work as part of your medical team and have strong relationships with the top physicians and specialists in Santa Cruz County. SOL Santa Cruz also has in house chiropractic care that can provide a medical diagnosis and referral to physical therapy.
Do you accept health insurance?
Active Care accepts most major health insurance providers and does verify benefits as a courtesy to our patients. For ‘out of network’ patients or for those whose benefits do not cover physical therapy services, a self-pay rate is available.
What happens if my problem recurs? 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.
My physician has given me a prescription that specifies another physical therapy clinic. Can I still go to SOL Santa Cruz for physical therapy treatment?
You have the right to choose your physical therapy provider. Your physician may make recommendations based on the relationship that she or he has with other physical therapy providers, and you have the right to request any provider you wish. If you’d like to use us as your physical therapy provider, you may bring your physician prescription to us and we will be happy to discuss your choice with your physician if appropriate. Note that your insurance company sometimes pays at different rates depending on the physical therapy facility you choose, and we will be happy to discuss your out-of-pocket costs with you as you select your physical therapy practice.
Active Release Technique® 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 a chiropractic specialist, 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 Santa Cruz always involved 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.