Let us debunk 12 physical therapy myths and help you understand the value of this method of healing for your body.
Most people know about physical therapy and its benefits but are still confused because of widespread misconceptions. Because of these physical therapy myths, people avoided this form of healing for many years.
It is essential to learn the truth about such myths and enjoy the benefits of PT. Today, we will debunk 12 common myths related to physical therapy.
Myth 1: Physical Therapy Is Painful
Many people think that physical therapy hurts the most and delay coming in to take sessions. You will indeed experience a little bit of pain or discomfort when you begin your treatment. However, a good physical therapist helps you heal your function and movement with very little pain.
Myth 2: All Physical Therapists Are the Same!
You can find physical therapists in various races, genders, and with varying educational backgrounds! Every physical therapist has a personal experience that makes them different from others.
Some physical therapists may have already encountered the condition that you have and can effectively help you heal based on their experience. You should find a therapist that understands your treatment goals.
Myth 3: You Have To See a Doctor Before You Can Go for Physical Therapy
When people feel discomfort or pain in their bodies, most of them see a doctor and get their permission to receive physical therapy. However, it is not necessary, and you can directly visit a physical therapy clinic to save your time and money. Physical therapists are experts in managing musculoskeletal pain like back pain.
Myth 4: Physical Therapists “Fix” People
Physical therapists help people heal, but the effort is not only from the therapist; the person who is healing also needs to put some effort into the treatment.
If you want a positive and long-lasting result from physical therapy, you need to follow your therapist’s instructions too. You will need to exercise and learn the method of treatment at home, so you can get the best outcome.
Myth 5: You Have To Be in Pain To Go to Physical Therapy
Most people avoid physical therapy because of this myth. You may also think that physical therapy is only meant for when you get injured or have been in an accident.
However, you can also receive physical therapy even if you are not strengthening or stretching your weak muscles after an injury. You can get physical therapy for the treatment of many conditions such as lower back pain, chronic headaches, frozen shoulders, and many others.
Myth 6: You Can Only See a PT With a Referral or Prescription
Many people still have the misconception that they need a prescription or referral from their doctor to receive physical therapy services.
There are some states such as New York, Connecticut and New Jersey that have Direct Access. In these states, you do not need a doctor’s prescription in order to make an appointment with a PT. However, we would suggest that regardless of the context, it never hurts to show your concern to a regular physician first.
Myth 7: Physical Therapy Is Just A Bunch of Exercises
Most people avoid going to physical therapy clinics because others tell them that it is strictly exercise-based treatment. However, physical therapy combines exercise, patient guidance, and manual therapy that effectively helps a person recover from musculoskeletal injuries.
Myth 8: Physical Therapy Is Expensive
Well, physical therapy is inexpensive for most surgical procedures and medical treatment.
The cost of receiving a physical therapy session is very cheap compared to medical services like imaging examination, emergency room visits, or hospital stay. For example, in this study, it was found that the cost of PT for treatment of MS at a military facility was lower than the average cost of primary care.
However, the cost of physical therapy visits may vary from the therapist and patient’s condition.
Myth 9: Surgery/Medication Are Better Options
You probably think that medication and surgery are better treatment options than physical therapy. However, many studies support that physical therapy helps you heal more effectively and safely than most painkiller medications and surgeries.
Instead of surgery, you should get physical therapy for degenerative disk disease, lumbar spinal stenosis, or meniscus tears.
Myth 10: Physical Therapy Is Not Covered by Insurance
Many insurance policies such as Medicare, workers’ compensation and private insurers cover physical therapy visits. Physical therapy also saves you from spending on additional prescription drugs, imaging scans, and surgery.
Myth 11: You Can Perform Physical Therapy at Home by Yourself
You can find many suggestions and advice to perform physical therapy at home on the internet. However, it is not safe to follow instructions made on the internet.
You cannot hope to give the same benefits to a patient that a doctorate-level physical therapist who is an expert in movement and the body’s function can provide, primarily because of their education and experience. A physical therapist will design a specific rehabilitation program according to your needs.
Myth 12: A Physical Therapist Will Tell You To Stop Doing Your Favorite Activities
Physical therapists tell you to eliminate or reduce the activities you love for some time while the body heals. Physical therapists want you to get back to your past self and do your favorite activities as fast as possible.
You will be required to limit your activity during treatment, but you can do whatever you want after completing your physical therapy treatment.
Answers To More Questions About Physical Therapy
Does physical therapy actually work?
Physical therapy effectively reduces pain, gains strength and function, and maximizes the joint’s range of motion.
Is physical therapy pointless?
Not at all; physical therapy has a success rate of 50.8%, which is more than continued care. A good therapist keeps track of your progress in gaining a range of motion, strength, and function.
Can physical therapy make things worse?
Sometimes, physical therapy may involve rubbing or touching the painful area before healing. You may feel worse due to the first time in your physical therapy session. However, it is common to have soreness after a session, but it worsens after each PT session.
Why does physical therapy hurt so much?
Physical therapy contains various activities that may cause pain due to the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles.
A Few Final Words
We have tried to bust some of the prevalent myths about physical therapy in this article. However, deciding to receive physical therapy is up to you. You should learn more about the benefits of physical therapy and get treatment if you need it.
Thank you for reading this article, and we hope it helped you get a greater appreciation for the benefits of physical therapy. If you have unanswered queries, please reach out to us through the comments section.
If you are interested about physical therapy, you should also read our article on the benefits of PT for older adults.