Physical Therapy


Joel regularly attends many continuing education courses to stay current on new trends and techniques, and serves as a supervisor and educator to numerous licensed physical therapists and student physical therapy doctoral candidates. He has treated Broadway Theater performers providing rehabilitation and crisis management back stage for the last 7 years at shows such as The Lion King, Sleep No More, Tarzan, and Sister Act.

Board Certifications

American Physical Therapy Association and American Society of Hand Therapists

Education and Training

Dr. Joel Giffin, PT, DPT, CHT received his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree with distinction from Simmons College. Prior to that he earned his Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac University with Honors where he also played Division 1 lacrosse. After completing an extensive 5 year training in the education and implementation of the intricacies of hand treatment and splinting methodologies, Joel became a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT).

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Frequently Asked Question

Physical Therapy or Physiotherapy

Early intervention with physical therapy can eliminate the need for unnecessary medication, surgery or extensive diagnostic and imaging tests – including X-Rays, MRIs and CT scans. Physical therapists provide both inpatient and outpatient treatment of neurologic and musculoskeletal injuries and disabilities. They train in the complex functional interplay of the musculature and bone structure.

People often face significant difficulties with movement and pain after suffering injuries or illnesses, or after major surgery such as knee and hip replacement. Physical Therapists provide therapeutic techniques to help patients regain movement and mitigate pain from illness, injury and surgery.

As early as 460 BC Hippocrates, a physician in ancient Greece, advocated massage, manual therapy and hydrotherapy to treat people with chronic pain and injury. Modern physical therapy was established toward the end of the 19th century. During the Polio outbreak of 1916, and in the aftermath of WW1, women trained in physical education and remedial exercise were recruited to work with injured soldiers and children to restore physical function and mobility.

The first school of physical therapy in the United States was established at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., following the outbreak of World War I.

Becoming a physical therapist can take anywhere from three to eight years. A Doctor of Physical Therapy degree is required in the US in order to work as a physical therapist. A prerequisite to the Doctoral program is a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with a major in health sciences. Physical Therapists who hold a Masters or bachelors in PT are encouraged to get their DPT. The American Association of Physical Therapists has as its goal that all PTs are on a Doctoral level.

DPT programs involve coursework in the following subjects:

  • Applied Physical Therapy
  • Functional Anatomy
  • Complex Conditions
  • LifeSpan Development
  • Pharmacotherapy Steps to Becoming a Physical Therapist


Application to a Residency program can be made after earning a DPT degree. Residency programs typically last one year. The residency programs offer additional training and experience in specialty areas of care. A Doctor of Physical Therapy can then specialize further by completing a fellowship in an advanced clinical area.

Board Certification

After working in the field, physical therapists may apply to become a board-certified specialist in one of eight clinical specialty areas offered by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. In order to become board-certified, physical therapists must complete at least 2,000 hours of clinical work or an APTA-accredited residency program in the specialty area, and pass an exam.

Do I need a referral?

One of the questions most often asked by patients is, “Do I need a referral for physical therapy?” or “Do you accept direct access patients?” There are several factors that determine whether a patient is required to obtain a referral or prescription from their primary care physician, including state law and individual insurance policies.

Direct Access to Physical Therapy

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have approved direct access to physical therapists. This means that patients are not required to get a referral from a Doctor first, when seeking physical therapy. However, some states have placed restrictions on how long treatment can be given without a doctor’s input (usually 30 days), or may limit specific treatments, or have other rules about treatment plans.

Physical Therapists in New York State have been able to treat patients for 30 days or 10 visits, whichever comes first, without a referral, since 2006. By law, the evaluating physical therapist must have a minimum of 3 years of experience and a current NYS Physical Therapy (PT) license. To receive PT beyond 10 visits or 30 calendar days from the initial evaluation, NYS requires a referral from a Doctor to continue PT treatment.

Symptoms/Conditions treated

  • Back Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Foot and Ankle Pain
  • Elbow/Arm Pain
  • Bursitis
  • Head and Jaw Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Sciatica
  • Tendonitis
  • Post-Surgical Pain

Procedures/Treatment modalities

  • Balance Training
  • E Stim/TENS
  • Flexibility Training
  • Muscle Release
  • Plantar Fasciitis Therapy
  • Pelvic Floor Therapy
  • Post-Operative Rehab
  • Posture Training
  • Strength Training

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December 2021
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