A Guide to Understanding Physical Therapy

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Despite the many positive results that can be achieved through physical therapy, many individuals are still misinformed about why and when to seek this type of care.

We put together a list of commonly heard misconceptions to getting physical therapy treatments and break them down to give you the facts. Do these sound familiar to you? What additional things you would want to know before your first visit?

“I need Physical Therapy treatment, but I have to go to my doctor for a prescription first.

Let’s clarify: Restrictions around treatment vary by state. New York has direct access which means that you can go DIRECTLY to their office for an appointment to receive an evaluation and treatment, but there are limitations.

A pen in hand resting on top of a prescription notepad. | Image for 'A Guide to Understanding Physical Therapy'

Direct Access in New York means you can get up to 10 visits in a 30 day period (whichever comes first). After reaching these limits, you will need a prescription ordered by your Medical Doctor. 

Some insurances that do not adhere to the direct access and require a prescription up front are Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plan and All Bluecross Blueshield with California Home Plan.

For additional information regarding your first appointment and insurance questions, give us a call!

“You can only get treated at the physical therapy clinic your doctor recommends.”

While your doctor may refer you go to a particular physical therapy clinic, you do not have to go there. You may choose to go to any physical therapy clinic you want. Do your research and find the clinic with an approach that matches your lifestyle and will be the best fit for your goals.

Four individuals stand side by side. They each hold a sheet of paper in front of their faces. The signs show a large question mark. | Image for 'A Guide to Understanding Physical Therapy'

“Physical therapy is only for those who suffer from injuries, chronic pain and post-surgery patients.”

Let’s clarify: We realize that most individuals won’t think about Physical Therapy UNTIL an injury happens. If you’ve been experiencing pain for a long time and have just been living with it, that is no way to live.

Image of a person bent down while holding their right knee with both hands as if in pain.| Image for 'A Guide to Understanding Physical Therapy'

Physical therapists can evaluate your movement habits to see if adjustments need to be made in order to avoid more serious injuries or disability. With a thorough evaluation we can find the root of your pain and create a plan that involves holistic movement treatments. Your physical therapist should work alongside you and guide you during every appointment and get you back to doing what you love.

“Pre-hab” is also a thing! In fact, most elite athletes work with a physical therapist on a weekly basis to prevent potentially-sidelining injuries. And no, we don’t order you to stop everything you’re doing; we like you exercising! Your physical therapist can review your current regime and offer modifications to help keep you active in a safe manner.

We’ve seen ex-collegiate athletes who think that because they’re not competing anymore, there’s no point in addressing their chronic pain/injuries. They may “accept” that they’ve “ruined” their bodies and settle for day-to-day pain and limited activity.

We’ve seen patients ready to give up playing their favorite sports because of chronic pain, but after a few months of physical therapy they’re back to doing what they love.

Physical therapists also help people manage pain. They treat people with a variety of conditions such as: carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, chronic headaches, TMJ/TMD,  lower back pain, and long COVID.

Are you convinced yet?

Remember: Pain medication and surgery are not your only options, you don’t have to suffer! It’s never too late to start physical therapy and discover a holistic healing approach. Take control of your wellness, pick up your phone, do your search and make an appointment to take care of YOU. 

Is there an area we didn’t cover? Tell us in the comments ⬇️ below.

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