Top Myths About Physical Therapy

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What Physical Therapy Myths Have You Heard?

Physical therapist performing an evaluation on a patient

Have you ever seen a physical therapist?  It’s okay if you haven’t, in fact that might be a really good thing.  Many people have heard myths regarding physical therapy because they just simply haven’t ever seen a physical therapist.  Or they may have seen a physical therapist and have had a bad experience.  Either way, I want to set the record straight on what you may know about physical therapy.

Physical Therapy Myth #1 – You Need To See A Physician First

This is completely false as you do not need to see a physician for a referral before you go to a physical therapist.  Now, there are different regulations in each state and on seeing a physical therapist without a referral.  If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you will need to get a referral for physical therapy regardless of what state you live in, but you do not need to see your physician first.  For most people, this will often save you time, money, and get you feeling better quicker.

Physical Therapy Myth #2 – You Need To Have An X-Ray or MRI First

An X-ray or MRI will cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars and for most people, will not change the outcome of what a physical therapist will do with you.  There are instances where an x-ray or MRI is warranted, but those cases are few and far between.  Even if your physician does diagnose a sprain/strain from your image, they may still end up referring you to see physical therapist anyway.

Physical Therapy Myth #3 – You Need To Go To The Physical Therapist Your Physician Referred You To

It is your right as the healthcare consumer to have a choice of any physical therapist that you would like to see.  Therefore you do not need to be seen by the physical therapist your physician referred you to.  If you want to see the physical therapist your physician refers you to, that’s great!  But don’t be worried if you want to see a different physical therapist than whom your physician recommended.  You won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, trust me!

Physical therapist holding a band for a patient doing a glute bridge on treatment table

Physical Therapy Myth #4 – Physical Therapy Is Supposed To Be Extremely Painful

False, physical therapy should not leave you in agonizing pain!  Can it be uncomfortable at times?  For sure.  In fact, all good things can come out of being pushed a little out of your comfort zone.  But, the physical therapist should be in constant communication with you about how you’re tolerating the treatment.  Depending upon your response to the treatment, they may adjust the plan of care accordingly to your response.

Physical Therapy Myth #5 – Physical Therapists Only Need A Certification To Practice

This may be surprising to hear, but most physical therapists have gone to school for a total of 7 years.  This usually includes 4 years of undergraduate school and a 3-year graduate physical therapy program.  All physical therapists in the U.S. at this time will graduate with a clinical doctorate in physical therapy.  Even after that, they still need to pass a national board licensing exam to start practicing!

Physical Therapy Myth #6 – If You Don’t Use Your Insurance, It’s Going To Cost A Lot

If you haven’t met your deductible and don’t use your insurance, it will most likely cost half of what you would pay if you did use your insurance.  If you decided to go straight to a physical therapist, you can get better in a small amount of visits for most minor injuries and non-acute issues by not having to pay to see your physician, x-ray, MRI, or any other tests that most likely won’t change your treatment.

Physical Therapy Myth #7 – Your Physical Therapist Will Tell You To Stop Doing What You Love

My goal and other physical therapist’s goals is to get you back to what you love ASAP!  Delaying treatment and ignoring your pain because you want to keep playing golf may only hurt you in the long run.  More often than not, the longer you hold off treatment, the longer your recovery will take.  Ideally, your physical therapist will not have you stop your activity completely, but will have you make modifications to reduce aggravating factors that may hinder progress.  Your physical therapist should only have you stop your activity completely if it is only necessary for health/safety reasons.

I hope that was helpful to dispel some myths about physical therapy you may have heard in the past.  If you’ve been dealing with any issues throughout the golf season, the off-season is the perfect time to get them taken care of.

I would be more than happy to chat with you about any aches/pains you’ve built up through the golf season.  You can schedule a free phone call or in-person session to get started right away so you can make next season your best season ever!

I know most golfers deal with low back pain, if you’d like you can check out these articles to help you start feeling better now!

Golf Back Pain Exercise: 5 Simple Exercises To Play Your Best

Get To The Root of Your Back Pain – Part 1

Get To The Root of Your Back Pain – Part 2

I’d love to know if any of this was helpful.  Feel free to send me an email directly at joe@puredrivephysio.com with any comments or questions you may have.  I respond to every single email within 24 hours.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

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