7 Myths of Physical Therapy

7 Myths of Physical Therapy

Myth 1: I need a physician’s prescription to see a physical therapist.

Fact: Seventy percent on consumers surveyed think they need a prescription to see a physical therapist but the fact is ALL 50 states allow a patient to be evaluated by a physical therapist without a prescription. In California, physical therapists can evaluate, and treat you for 45 days (or 12 visits, whichever is first), without the need for a prescription. If your physical therapist feels you need to see a physician they will refer you to see one. 7 Myths of Physical Therapy

Myth 2: Physical Therapy is painful!

Fact: Seventy One percent of people who have never visited a physical therapist think physical therapy is painful. That number decreases significantly among those seen by a physical therapist. Physical therapists are trained to work within a patient’s pain threshold. It is never our intention to make you more painful during, or after, therapy.

Myth 3: Physical Therapy is only for injuries and accidents.

Fact: Physical therapy, which became prevalent during World War I to help rehabilitate our injured service people, is a diverse allied health care practice that prevents injury and decreases pain while also promoting increased mobility, health, and wellness. Physical therapists do treat patients post injury, or accident, but also work hard to prevent injuries.

Myth 4: Any health care practitioner can perform physical therapy.

Fact: Although 58% of people believe other health care practitioners can administer physical therapy, only physical therapists (and physical therapy assistants) can legally perform physical therapy. Physicians, Chiropractors, trainers, etc. cannot legally perform physical therapy.

Myth 5: Physical Therapy isn’t covered by insurance.

Fact: Even though 1 in 5 people still believe physical therapy is not covered by their insurance, most insurance policies cover some amount of physical therapy services. The addition of the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare) actually requires physical therapy to be a part of new health insurance policies.

Myth 6: Surgery is my only option. 7 Myths of Physical Therapy

Fact: Over 79% of people who have been seen by a physical therapist believe it is an alternative to surgery. In fact, research shows in many cases it can be as effective as surgery. If surgery is required, your physical therapist will work in conjunction with your surgeon to provide you the best outcomes.

Myth 7: I can do physical therapist myself.

Fact: Fifty Eight percent of people think they can do, or unsure if they can do their own physical therapy. Licensed physical therapists have specialized education, and experience to perform physical therapy. As a licensed physical therapist, I know my outcome would be poor if I performed physical therapy on myself.

7 Myths of Physical Therapy

About the Author

Andrew Vertson

Andrew received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from California State University, Fresno in 1991. He then earned his Master’s degree of Physical Therapy in 1996 and his Doctorate degree of Physical Therapy in 2002 from Loma Linda University. In 1996 he also earned his Certification as an Athletic Trainer. He has also completed extensive post-graduate course work in orthopedic manual therapy through Kaiser-West Los Angeles and the Ola Grimsby Institute.

He has more than fifteen years of clinical experience, and extensive continued education in outpatient orthopedic and athletic settings. During that time, he worked with professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, in addition to numerous Olympic gold medalists and movie & television personalities.

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