While physical therapy can’t always provide a cure, it can bring relief from chronic pain, coordination issues, muscular and neurological conditions, bone problems, and much more. In some cases, the results are truly life-changing.
However, despite all the good it does, some myths about physical therapy and its effectiveness persist. If you’re hesitant to seek therapeutic care, debunking these misconceptions can bring peace of mind. Here are seven common physical therapy myths and the truth behind them.
Many people who have never visited a physical therapist fear that the process will be very painful. However, in most cases, physical therapy practitioners try to work within the bounds of your comfort zone. If something hurts, all you need to do is say so!
The fact that physical therapy can make you sore is not a myth. Physical therapy is designed to stretch and strengthen your body and put everything back into alignment. In many cases, that does result in a bit of soreness. However, that doesn’t mean it should be miserable, either—a true professional will always keep your needs and tolerances in mind.
You might not realize that physical therapy can benefit you, especially if you don’t have a condition that physical therapy commonly addresses. However, the right physical therapy regimen can treat and even prevent a variety of problems, even if you might not be in pain or distress at the moment.
The following is just a brief list of symptoms that physical therapy can offset:
The best way to find out if you may benefit from physical therapy is to consult with a physical therapist. There are also different types of physical therapists. For example, a chiropractic physical therapist can incorporate aspects of chiropractic care and physical therapy to relieve pain and restore range of motion due to musculoskeletal ailments.
Most medical insurance providers will cover physical therapy treatment as long as you follow the requirements set forth in your policy. Some providers may ask for a referral from your doctor, and others may set limits for the number of visits they’ll cover. Your level of insurance coverage may also determine how much physical therapy you’re eligible for.
Of all physical therapy myths, one of the most prevalent is that you need a doctor’s referral to get started. In actuality, while the level of treatment that a physical therapist can give you without a referral does vary by state, you don’t need a referral to see a physical therapist.
Even though you may not need a referral for physical therapy, you should always do your due diligence to make sure your physical therapist can administer the treatments that you need. Likewise, as mentioned, some health insurance companies may require a referral to cover the costs.
In the State of Florida, physical therapists have limited freedom to treat patients without referrals. Generally, if you have a condition commonly treated by physical therapy with less than 30 days of treatment time, you shouldn't need a doctor's assistance. However, you may need a long-term care plan with the help of your doctor if the above terms don't apply.
While your physical therapist may recommend alternative activities that won’t stress your injuries, they will never tell you to stop exercising or stop being active. On the contrary, an active lifestyle (in moderation) can assist with the physical therapy process.
Your therapist or chiropractor may recommend certain levels of activity that may be appropriate for you. For example, if you like to go jogging, but you're recovering from an ankle injury, your physical therapist may recommend that you switch to a low-impact alternative for a short time. Examples of this might be swimming, walking, yoga, or similar things.
If you don’t like the outlook that surgery offers or it’s not an option for you, physical therapy may be an excellent alternative to consider.
Many of today’s doctors emphasize the importance of surgery, and while it can certainly change many patients’ lives, it’s not the only viable option. The dominance of surgery is just another one of many physical therapy myths.
Physical therapy is not always a superior option to surgery, and vice versa. However, it’s certainly worth considering and speaking to a professional about, especially if you have concerns that surgery may not be right for you.
Some people believe that any doctor or personal trainer can perform physical therapy. Others believe that they can do physical therapy procedures on their own. While it’s true that any professional can offer physical therapy advice, it may not be the best.
Think of it this way: if your car broke down, would you rather bring it to a car mechanic or a motorcycle mechanic for repairs? While some of the mechanisms may be the same between both machines, a car mechanic is far more knowledgeable than a motorcycle expert in the way your car works.
In this scenario, you’re the car, and your physical therapist is the car mechanic. A physical therapist has the experience and education necessary to create a detailed treatment plan for your unique situation. A general physician may not know the best physical therapy treatments for you and your condition.
Don’t let physical therapy myths prevent you from getting the care you need. To learn more about physical therapy, car accident physical therapy, or other therapeutic or chiropractic services in Brandon, FL, contact Brandon Physical Therapy today at (813) 689-1883.