myths about physical therapy
September 21, 2016

The right person will find that going through physical therapy is beneficial to everyday life. A therapist can guide a patient through techniques that help:

  • restore movement,
  • eliminate discomfort,
  • increase physical activity at any age.

Unfortunately, there are many myths that prevent individuals from considering physical therapy as a solution to their physical issues.

1. Myth: Physical therapy requires a referral from a doctor

Truth: There are some states that do rely on a physician’s referral to determine the limitations of a person that wants to undergo physical therapy. Michigan was the final state to allow individuals to take part in therapy without a prescription, but there may be restrictions regarding certain treatment options. All states do allow a therapy provider to evaluate a new patient, even if they haven’t visited their own doctor about the issue.

2. Myth: Physical therapy will be a painful experience

Truth: In most cases, the goal of engaging in sessions with a therapist is to ease the feeling of ongoing pain. Each individual has their own pain threshold to consider when the professional is working to restore the function or movement in certain areas of the body.

Those that do enter therapy anticipating pain are often surprised once given the opportunity to receive beneficial treatment without any discomfort.

3. Myth: Treatment is exclusive to patients recovering from an accident or injury

Truth: One goal for physical therapy might be to toughen specific muscles after the patient undergoes surgery or sustains an injury. There are plenty of individuals that seek the benefits of a professional diagnosis and treatment of problems that are not yet severe.

Carpal tunnel and lower back pain are a couple of examples of such conditions that can be treated before becoming more serious.

4. Myth: All health care professionals are qualified to provide physical therapy

Truth: Although it’s true that many physical therapists are certified in more specific areas, it’s actually required to obtain a special license before administering physical therapy itself. An example of specialty areas of practice that can be performed by a therapist with proper certification include:

  • Sports
  • Geriatrics
  • Women’s issues
  • Oncology
  • Orthopaedics

5. Myth: Insurance policies do not cover physical therapy

Truth: It’s important to many individuals that they reduce health care cost when possible. Patients that engage in physical therapy often eliminate the need for invasive surgery or monthly prescription drugs.

Not all insurance policies pay the total cost for an individual to engage in therapy, but most do provide some level of coverage. They effectively lower their own cost when a policyholder is able to strengthen their body against the potential onset of chronic conditions.

6. Myth: The most reliable option is an invasive surgery

Truth: A broad range of painful ailments can be effectively treated by working with a physical therapist, such as sports injuries or chronic hip pain. Going through surgery is traumatic to the body, and most patients spend weeks in physical therapy as they recover. It has been proven that engaging in physical therapy without surgery can be as effective in most cases, especially if the patient is dedicated to attending regular sessions and an at-home program.

7. Myth: I can do my own therapy

Truth: There is no equivalent to engaging in therapy sessions with an expert that has gone through years of training to obtain their professional certification. As a patient, it’s always best to trust the diagnosis and treatment recommendations made by the licensed physical therapist. Each patient has unique needs and they need to follow a therapy plan that is specific to treating their specific problem.


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