In our profession of physical therapy, there are often times questions asked about our work. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about how a physical therapist can help an individual recover or if they can even help an individual recover from their injury. Physical Therapists can provide more services than many realize! Below, we will cover common questions asked about physical therapy.
If I haven’t experienced an injury or had surgery, why would I need Physical Therapy treatment?
Physical therapy helps to restore normal function in affected areas of the body. Physical therapists are movement specialists, so if you experience difficulty doing what you love, PT can often times be the best place to start. We help figure out why you have pain when you do certain exercises with a thorough evaluation and create a specific rehabilitation plan to help restore restricted motion or muscular dysfunction/imbalance so you no longer have pain
When I’m already in pain, won’t physical therapy make my discomfort worse?
The quicker you visit a physical therapist, the quicker you can get back to your normal activity pain-free. The longer you wait to deal with the pain, the harder it can be for us to get you healthy again. If we are not able to reduce your pain, we can refer you to the appropriate healthcare provider to assist you further. While we work with a wide array of movement dysfunctions, it is not always associated with pain. You don’t need to have pain to seek PT! As much as our goal is to help rid you of your pain and return to partaking in your desired activity, our goal is to also prevent the pain before it happens.
Is physical therapy expensive to seek treatment? Do I need a referral from my doctor?
California is a Direct Access state, which means that you can seek/receive physical therapy without a doctor’s referral. However, your insurance company/carrier may require a prescription from a physician in order to pay for physical therapy services. The staff in our office will be able to provide further information about the requirements for your specific insurance plan.
Why should I choose physical therapy over massage or chiropractic care?
Massage therapy and chiropractic care are good options, but physical therapists utilize different techniques to help restore normal motion and provide solutions for long-lasting relief. Physical therapy also provides a high level of patient education to instruct our patients how to identify dysfunction in their bodies and to improve their overall well-being. Everyone loves massage and soft-tissue work and they are beneficial, but benefits are often short-term because it is a passive activity. Physical therapy helps to provide pain relief from hands on work (passive), but more importantly, helps patients improve their overall body function through active recovery. Think of PT as a lifetime investment to make sure your body is moving the way it should!
How many visits will I need before my issue resolves?
This depends on the severity of your issue/dysfunction, how long you’ve been experiencing the pain, and how consistent you are with coming to physical therapy sessions and doing your home exercise program. You should see some change within the first few sessions and more significant change in the first few weeks. In general, patients can expect results in 6-8 weeks or 12-16 sessions. However, each patient’s condition is different and there are many variables (i.e. pain tolerance, chronicity of condition, age, co-morbidities, etc.) that affect your recovery.
Can physical therapy be a safe alternative to surgery?
Physical therapy should be considered before surgery in almost all cases. It is always best to exhaust your conservative treatment options before surgery. If your condition does not respond to therapy and surgery is required, we can work with your surgeon or refer you to an appropriate physician for care.
There are many instances when physical therapy can still benefit you even when surgery is the eventual answer. We can help prepare your body for surgery by improving motion and strength to help improve your prognosis for recovery. We are also well equipped to handle your post-operative physical therapy needs for recovery.
Physical therapist are rehab and movement specialists. You go to your physician for a check-up, so why not go to a physical therapist to make sure your body is moving appropriately? To learn more, come in to In Motion O.C. to get your body right!