Physical therapy is one of the most key components to your recovery following an injury or surgery, but because everyone’s therapy and goals are different, it’s easy for misinformation to start flying around. In today’s blog, we hope to clear up some of the misconceptions about the physical therapy process so you know exactly what you’re in for if physical therapy is in your future.
1. You Need A Referral From A Doctor
Most people think that they need to get an order for physical therapy from their primary care physician in order to seek out therapy from a PT. That’s simply not true. According to the American Physical Therapy Association and their rules governing Minnesota, a patient can be treated by a PT without a referral for up to 90 days. The physical therapist cannot make a medical diagnosis and must refer the patient to a physician if the condition is beyond the scope of their abilities, but in many cases, you do not need a referral to seek out physical therapy in Minnesota.
2. Physical Therapy Hurts
The goal of physical therapy is to reduce your pain and discomfort, but at the same time, strengthening recovering structures isn’t going to be a perfectly pain-free process. You may be uncomfortable or have some minor discomfort, but PT should never be painful. If a stretch or exercise is causing actual pain, inform your therapist, because therapy should not be painful.
3. Therapy is Only For Accidents and Acute Injuries
Physical therapy isn’t just for people who were involved in a car accident or who are recovering following a surgery in order to return to athletic activity. PT can also be very beneficial for individuals who have developed certain conditions over a long period of time. Manual laborers who are suffering from arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome can help limit the progression of their condition by jumping into a PT routine, so don’t assume that you need an acute moment of injury in order to be eligible for physical therapy.
4. PT Isn’t Covered By Insurance
Insurance companies don’t love paying out for services, but at the same time, their interests do align with that of physical therapists. Both want you to make maximum medical improvement, because the more you recover, the fewer payments they’ll have to make for continued care services. Check with your insurance provider or get approval before moving forward with a PT routine, but you may be surprised to learn that your sessions are likely partially or fully covered by insurance.
5. Surgery Is Your Only Option
Surgery is one option for your ailment, but rarely is it ever your only option. In fact, most doctors won’t even recommend surgery unless you’ve tried at least six or more weeks of conservative care remedies, which oftentimes includes physical therapy. Doctors may jump to surgery right away for certain conditions like tumors or cancers, but for most physical ailments, PT and other conservative care techniques are attempted first. In fact, some insurance companies won’t approve surgery until you’ve tried physical therapy.
For more information about physical therapy, or to talk to a therapist about your injuries or pain, reach out to OrthoRehab Specialists today.
PT of Costa Rican National Soccer Team for 2007 World Cup in Victoria, CAN. Clinical Instructor for University of Minnesota Doctor of Physical Therapy Affiliations
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