In the digital age information, as well as, myths and misconceptions flow freely, often finding their way into the realm of healthcare. When it comes to physical therapy, these misconceptions can deter people from seeking the help they need or lead them down the wrong path on their journey to recovery. In this blog, we want to debunk some common myths about physical therapy that can often stand in the way of potential patients seeking care that could change the course of their health journey and improve their quality of life.
Myth: Physical Therapy Is Painful
There is a common misconception among people who have never received physical therapy that the process is very painful; however, this is not the case! One of the goals of physical therapy is to minimize or completely relieve the chronic or long-term pain you have been experiencing. Physical therapists work within your pain threshold to help you heal and restore your range of motion and function. While physical therapy work will not be painful you can still expect to feel some discomfort or soreness, similar to what you may feel after exercise.
Myth: Physical Therapy Is Only For Injuries And Accidents
Often when people think of physical therapy they think of someone receiving treatment after an injury or accident, which is certainly common but there is more to physical therapy! Physical therapy can be used to prevent an injury, evaluate and address an injury or condition before it becomes exacerbated, manage chronic pain, and treat a variety of conditions. These conditions can range from lower back pain, to chronic headaches, to carpal tunnel syndrome, to spinal dysfunctions, to sports injuries, to concussions. This is a small example of the variety of conditions physical therapy can be used to treat.
Myth: Surgery Is My Only Option
Physical therapy won’t be able to replace surgery in every instance, however, there are many cases where physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery. Some of these conditions include:
Rotator cuff tears
Degenerative disk disease
Some forms of knee osteoarthritis
It’s important to remember that even in cases where surgery is necessary, physical therapy is an important tool in post-op recovery. Working with a physical therapist after surgery can help reduce pain, improve recovery time, and reduce the risk of a repeat injury.
Myth: All Physical Therapy Can Be Done At Home
While your physical therapist will likely include in-home exercises for you to do as an addition to your physical therapy plan, physical therapy treatment can not be fully performed at home on your own. Physical therapy is more than just stretching and strength training. Your physical therapist will create a custom treatment plan based on a variety of factors which can include your pain level, any underlying conditions, or consistent physical demands you may experience. Working in-office with a physical therapist allows you to incorporate components such as stimulation, massage, mobilizations, manipulation, and use of recovery technology into your treatment plan. While performing at-home exercises prescribed by your physical therapist is an important component of maximizing your results, at-home care is not a replacement for seeing a physical therapist in-office.
Myth: A Referral Is Needed To See A Physical Therapist
A very common misconception is that to be seen by a physical therapist you have to receive a referral or prescription. However, you do not need a referral to be evaluated by a physical therapist, and in many states, you do not need a referral to receive treatment. Some states have set lengths on how long you can receive continued treatment from a physical therapist before receiving a referral as well as the type of treatment you receive. It’s important to note that while the state may not require a referral for treatment, your insurance company might. If you’ve found a physical therapy office you like, they should be able to help you with the process and inform you of how much care they are able to provide before receiving a referral from your doctor.
In the state of Virginia, you can see a physical therapist for evaluation and initial treatment without a referral! If your physical therapist thinks continued care is necessary, they can coordinate with your doctor to set up a referral.
Where Can I Find A Physical Therapist Treatments Near Me?
At Advanced Kinetics Physical Therapy we offer physical therapy services whether you’re dealing with chronic pain, recovering from an injury, working to prevent an injury, recovering from surgery, or looking to improve mobility! These services are available at our locations in Falls Church and McLean, Virginia. If you’re interested in learning more about how our physical therapists can help you, please get in touch with us!