Common Misconceptions About Physical Therapy
In the physical therapy world, we commonly hear misconceptions about our profession. Many people who have never received treatment before misinterpret what physical therapists can do for their patients. Our medical expertise and manual techniques to reduce pain go well beyond stretching. We debunk 5 common myths about physical therapy.
- I NEED A DOCTOR’S REFERRAL TO SEE A PT
One of the most common untruths is that you can only seek physical therapy treatment when your primary doctor refers you. However, through legislation called Direct Access, you can schedule an appointment with a physical therapist without a referral from your primary care provider. The benefits of Direct Access include faster treatment and potentially lower medical costs. Rather than paying a co-pay to see your doctor first, you can come to one of our clinics to begin receiving care right away.
- ANY MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL CAN DO PT
According to Move Forward PT, about 37 percent of people believe that any health care professional can perform physical therapy methods on patients. Yet, care can only be provided by a licensed therapist. Much of this confusion stems from the fact that physical therapists often have several certifications. For instance, an Orthopedic Specialist may also be certified in physical therapy for the foot and ankle.
- PHYSICAL THERAPY IS THE SAME AS MASSAGE
Physical therapists are well-versed in the biomechanics of the human body and can provide more in-depth care than muscle massage. While many of our manual therapy techniques involve kneading painful areas of the body, physical therapists can also become certified in specialty programs. For example, sports conditioning for strengthening and balance rehabilitation for safer movement.
- PHYSICAL THERAPY IS ONLY FOR INJURIES
While we certainly treat patients after an accident that causes injury, physical therapists can treat so much more. From golf performance enhancement to lymphedema treatment, physical therapy is an all-encompassing field. At Integrated Rehabilitation Services, we also develop care plans for patients with diabetes who want to live a healthier life. Who knew?
- SURGERY IS MORE EFFECTIVE
Depending on your injury or health condition, surgery may not be the only option you have for pain relief. In some cases, physical therapy is proven more effective to treat these symptoms. For example, back issues caused by degenerative disc disease and shoulder pain related to a rotator cuff tear. Consult with a physical therapist first to see which treatment method is best for you.