Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare for my first physical therapy visit?

  • Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to your first appointment, as you will be asked to fill out paperwork including a medical history, history of current problems, and questionnaires pertaining to the specific region being examined. 
  • To enhance the patient experience most new patient paperwork may be filled out prior to your arrival. Click here to download paperwork. 
  • Please bring any documentation required by your insurance or health care provider. This includes an insurance card, a referral (if required by your insurance), or information specific to your case including Workers’ Compensation claim number, attorney, auto insurance case information, lien information, or other insurances involved in your care.
  • Be prepared to discuss with your therapist how your symptoms have been affecting your daily life, what your goals are, and any interventions you have tried before to address this problem, including other medical visits, medications, surgery etc.  
  • Wear or bring loose fitting clothing that is comfortable to exercise in and can easily expose the region of the body being examined. For example, if you have knee or hip problems consider having shorts available, while if you have shoulder problems consider wearing a tank top or loose fitting t-shirt. At times, your therapist may recommend changing into a gown to allow better visualization of your injury.

What should I expect during my first physical therapy visit?

  • Please check in at the front desk where our Office Manager will assist you with finalizing your patient registration and assist with any papwrork.  To enhance your patient experience, most new patient paperwork may be filled out prior to arriving at Optimal Sports Physical Therapy for your first appointment.
  • After completing the check in process, your therapist will greet you and escort you back to one of our private evaluation rooms. 
  • In order to help us fully understand your injury and your individual needs, your physical therapist will spend time discussing your medical history, the history of your current symptoms/injury, pain and other symptoms, your functional deficits, and your therapy goals. 
  • This process helps us get to know you, understand your needs, and tailor the rehab process to you and your goals. 
  • During your initial examination your therapist will perform a variety of tests including palpation, assessing range of motion, strength testing, neurologic screening, movement screening, and a thorough postural assessment. These tests usually involve changing positions and moving between laying down, sitting, standing, and walking. This process will allow us to see how you move and help us identify your deficits and rehab needs. 
  • After completing your initial evaluation, your physical therapist will work with you to develop an individualized plan of care to address your specific needs. Your therapist will discuss various treatment options and any other referrals if necessary. 
  • As always, you may ask any questions you need to help you understand your medical condition, your rehab process, and treatment options. 
  • Once a plan of care has been established, your therapist may even start treatment on the first visit with any time remaining. 

Are you in-network with my insurance? 

Optimal Sports Physical Therapy is an in-network and preferred provider for many of Montana’s most popular insurance companies.  

We are in-network providers for: 

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Allegiance
  • Pacific Source
  • Cigna
  • United Health Care
  • Healthy Montana Kids
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Tricare/Triwest
  • and many more.

For more details on insurances that we are in -network with, please visit our insurance page or call for more details. 

How often will I have to go to physical therapy?

  • Typically patients are seen 1-2 times/week for therapy treatment and visits typically last between 30 minutes to 1 hour. The frequency of visits and the duration of physical therapy care varies from person to person depending on their needs. Some conditions may require only 2 weeks of treatment while others may require up to 6 months or longer. 
  • You will discuss this with your therapist to develop the plan of care that is right for you and fits your needs. 
  • We encourage our patients to openly discuss their plan of care, frequency, duration, scheduling needs, goals, and financial concerns with their physical therapist. 

How much does therapy cost?

  • How much therapy costs is, to some extent, determined by your insurance coverage. Cost depends on deductible, co-pays, and other factors. 
  • Most insurances have physical therapy coverage as a covered benefit however every plan provides a different amount of coverage. 
  • Because we know that insurance is often difficult to understand, our billing office will check with your insurance to verify your physical therapy coverage. 
  • Once we know your benefits, we will discuss your insurance details with you. 
  • As always, if you have a specific concern or want more details, we encourage you to call Optimal Sports Physical Therapy to discuss your concerns with our team. 
  • Because we don’t want your recovery to be limited by finances, our therapists will work with you to develop a plan of care that fits your financial needs. 
  • Our office manager can help you arrange a payment plan on an as needed basis. 

Why see a physical therapist at Optimal Sports PT?

  • Our primary goal is to help you:  Feel Better. Move Better. Live Better.
  • The physical therapists at Optimal Sports Physical Therapy are highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular disorders which means we can help you with a wide variety of injuries. 
  • Each of our therapists is dedicated to advancing the field of physical therapy and hold advanced certifications so that they can provide you with a higher level of care. 
  • We treat you as an individual and develop a care plan tailored to you and your goals. 
  • Our promise to you is to help you achieve your goals. 

What makes Optimal Sports PT different from other physical therapy clinics?

  • Several other clinics claim to be “patient centered” yet offer a one size fits all treatment plan for their patients. Some clinics treat you as a number. If you are tired of being treated like a number, we are here for you. 
  • We want you to have reliable, consistent care and will match you with a therapist who is right for you to guide you through your rehabilitation process. 
  • We believe in the importance of establishing meaningful relationships with you and will never “pass you around” between therapists.
  • You will be treated by your physical therapist and not by any aides, techs, or assistants. 
  • We offer flexible scheduling so that you can receive the care that best fits your needs and lifestyle.  
  • We use cutting edge technology to aid in identifying biomechanical and to guide your recovery process.
  • No one likes spending their time in the PT clinic, and here at Optimal Sports our goal is to get you back to doing what you love as quickly as possibly while giving you the tools you need to prevent future injury.


Do I need a referral?

  • Optimal Sports Physical Therapy is a direct access physical therapy clinic which means you do not need a referral to come visit us. 
  • However, depending on your insurance provider a medical referral may be required for reimbursement. 
  • We advise contacting your insurance company prior to attending physical therapy to make the process as smooth as possible. 
  • Some specific insurance companies that require a referral are: Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare/TriWest, as well as other individual plans. 
  • We will attain a benefit verification for you within the first two physical therapy appointments and will review those benefits with you. 
  • Please contact us by phone or email regarding any insurance questions you may have.

Can I come to Optimal Sports Physical Therapy for running rehab?

  • If you are a runner and are struggling due to pain, Optimal Sports is a good choice for you. 
  • At Optimal Sports Physical Therapy our therapists are trained to help you keep running and to achieve your running goals. 
  • We can offer you a complete running analysis, complete neuromusculoskeletal examination, and even a force plate assessment to identify any biomechanical issues that may be contributing to pain. 
  • We can also assess your current shoe wear and make shoe wear suggestions based on your running analysis and your foot shape. 
  • Want a running program made just for you?  Our PTs can design a running rehab program for you that will help you achieve your goals. This program may include strength and mobility exercises, a running progression, as well as balance, core work, and other therapeutic interventions designed with you in mind. 

Can I come to Optimal Sports Physical Therapy for post-op rehab?

  • If you are having surgery and need rehab afterward, Optimal Sports PT is a good choice for you. 
  • Common surgeries requiring post-op rehab include: Total Knee Arthroplasty, Total Hip Arthroplasty, rotator cuff repair, ACL reconstruction, ankle surgery, cervical fusion, lumbar surgeries, and others.  
  • If you are in need of post-op rehab, tell your surgeon to refer you to Optimal Sports Physical Therapy. 
  • In some cases, research has shown that “pre-hab” (therapy prior to orthopedic surgery) can help you recover from surgery better. Ask your surgeon about pre-hab today. 

What is blood flow restriction training? 

  • You may qualify to use Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training as a part of your rehab process. 
  • Optimal Sports Physical Therapy has several therapists specifically trained to use BFR as a part of your rehab process. 
  • BFR incorporated into rehab has been shown to help overall recovery. 
  • BFR is a therapy tool that can help you gain strength, increase healing hormones, and help your recovery from any muscle atrophy. BFR is also being shown to have some decreased in your systemic response to pain. 
  • If you are interested in incorporating this cutting edge technique into your rehab, call us today.

My son just injured his knee while playing football this weekend. What should I do?

  • If you or someone you know has sustained an injury, the first step is to get an evaluation.
  • If it is a life-threatening injury, call 9-1-1.
  • Our therapists, through direct access physical therapy at Optimal Sports Physical Therapy can also assess your son’s knee injury, and help you navigate the recovery process. 
  • If you just aren’t sure what the injury is or what to do, we can conduct a free “Bump and Bruise” consultation to help guide your decision making process complete with assisting you with any necessary referrals. 
  • Once we assess your child, we can help you identify his needs, develop a plan for his injury, and help guide the return to play process. 

Can I buy therapy equipment and supplies at OPT?

  • We do have access to top brands at low prices. If you need some equipment, talk to your PT about your needs. We have access to a large variety of therapy tools that we can get for you. 
  • If you need a therapy ball, ankle weights, a foam roller, or a self-massager, we can help you find the product that you need. 
  • We have ankle braces available in the clinic for purchase.
  • If you are not sure what brace you need, call us today. We can help you find the right style and size. 
  • You can also purchase RockTape, biofreeze, and other supplies in the clinic. 

I think my daughter sustained a concussion in her volleyball game. What should I do?

  • Your daughter should be removed play immediately, and assessed by a healthcare provider. 
  • Any concussion should be evaluated as soon as possible. 
  • The best option if you think your child has a concussion would be to call our clinic for an evaluation. Other options in Helena that offer walk-in evaluations include: 
    • Urgent Care
    • Prompt Care, 
    • Performance Injury Care and Sports Medicine. 
  • Some concussions will completely resolve in 7-10 days. However other concussions can take much longer to completely heal. 
  • Current research tells us that if you start exercising and begin to gradually restart appropriate activities as early as 24 hours, you have a better chance of complete recovery. 
  • The sooner your athlete is assessed, the sooner they can start rehab. Starting rehab sooner leads to better outcomes. 
  • Some concussions may require modifications in activity level, school work load, or work accommodations. Our therapists can help guide you in these recommendations. 


My child athlete just suffered a concussion playing soccer. What laws exist to protect my child? 

In Montana, many laws exist to protect your child athlete. The age of the child as well as what classification of the league will help play a role in determining which law(s) are applicable in your situation. As always, we recommend contacting a lawyer if you need legal assistance. 

For high school athletes, the Montana High School Athletic Association has several policies and procedures for concussions including insurance for athletes affected by concussion; education of parents, athletes, and coaches; removal from play if a concussion is suspected; and clearance by a licensed healthcare professional prior to returning to play. 

In 2013, the state legislature enacted the Dylan Steigers Protection of Youth Athlete Act requiring each high school to adopt policies removing athletes from play, seeking return to play clearance from a licensed healthcare provider, providing concussion education to parents, athletes, and coaches. 

In 2017, the state legislature enacted HB487 to expand the protection provided in the Dylan Steigers Protection of Youth Athlete Act to non-public schools and youth athletic organizations. 

For more information on Montana concussion laws for youth athletes, please check out the DPHHS website. 

If you are in need of more information on concussion or an evaluation of a concussion for yourself or your child, please contact Optimal Sports Physical Therapy. Our physical therapists are specifically trained on concussion recognition, assessment, and treatment. We can help guide you with treatment and return to play decisions. Don’t delay, call today!