6 Common Myths About Physical Therapy
- You need a referral to see a physical therapist.
False. Most people believe you need a referral to be evaluated by a physical therapist, which is not true. The state of Texas has direct access where you are able to see a doctor of physical therapy for evaluation and treatment within 10 business days before you need a physician to approve further care.
- Physical therapy is the same as massage.
False. While soft tissue massage may be part of your treatment plan, manual therapy performed by a physical therapist also includes joint mobilization and manipulation techniques. This is done prior to strengthening and therapeutic exercises that restore function to help you move with less pain.
- Physical therapy is only for injuries.
False. Physical therapy is used for more than just recovering from an injury through strengthening and stretching. Doctors of Physical Therapy also have skills to diagnose and prevent potential future issues that may be associated with your current injury or presentation.
- Surgery is more effective than Physical Therapy (or “surgery is my only option”)
False. There are many cases in which physical therapy can restore function and reduce pain without surgery. There is new research coming out everyday that shows many pathologies, such as partial rotator cuff tears and meniscal tears, often have the same outcomes whether surgery and physical therapy is performed or physical therapy alone. According to the new information, conservative options such as physical therapy should be tried prior to other more invasive means such as surgery.
- Physical therapy is painful
False. Doctor’s of Physical Therapy play a crucial role in helping those with acute and chronic pain to become pain-free. They work within your pain threshold to achieve the level of function you desire. While a minimal amount of pain can be a part of the rehab process, causing moderate-severe pain with physical therapy can be counter production. Only a very minimal amount of pain shoulder be anticipated with physical therapy.
- I can do physical therapy on my own
False. While you can perform many of the exercises from physical therapy on your own, it is initially important to have guidance in regard to appropriate form and dosage of each exercise. Without appropriate supervision and guidance you will be at increased risk for injury and are not likely to gain optimum results.
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