7 Myths About Physical Therapy

People everywhere are experiencing the positive effects physical therapy can have on their daily lives. In fact, as experts in the way the body moves, physical therapists help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve range of motion, and stay active and fit throughout their entire life. But there are some common misconceptions that often discourage people from visiting a physical therapist.

Today we’re here to debunk 7 common myths about physical therapy:

1. Myth: I need a referral to see a physical therapist.
Fact: Starting January 1, 2015, residents of Michigan will no longer need a referral from their physician to receive physical therapy treatment….this is big news! In fact, Michigan is the last of the 50 states to jump on board so this is a long time coming. We know you’ll have questions regarding insurance and the process so we’ll be putting together a list of everything you need to know in the near future. In the meantime, feel free to call our office at 616.997.6172 with any questions you may have.

2. Myth: Physical therapy is painful.
Fact: Physical therapists seek to minimize your pain and discomfort—including chronic or long-term pain. We work within your pain threshold to help you heal, and restore movement and function. We often find that people who have never visited a physical therapist think physical therapy is painful, but that number significantly decreases among patients who have seen a physical therapist in the past year.

Amanda, Corey, and Janeen at the massage expo

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

Fact: Physical therapists do a lot more than just stretch or strengthen weak muscles after an injury or surgery. We are skilled at evaluating and treating potential problems before they lead to more serious injuries or disabling conditions—from carpal tunnel syndrome and frozen shoulder, to chronic headaches and lower back pain, to name a few.

4. Myth: Any health care professional can perform physical therapy.
Fact: Although 42% of consumers know that physical therapy can only be performed by a licensed physical therapist, 37% still believe other health care professionals can also administer physical therapy. While many healthcare professionals (physical therapists included) work in the area of rehab, only a physical therapist is properly trained and certified to perform physical therapy. Because of our expertise in rehabilitation, injury prevention, movement, and fitness, we are able to provide our clients with specialized treatment plans to ensure the best outcome. In fact, many of our physical therapists have also pursued board certifications in specific areas such as McKenzie treatment for back pain, orthopedics, sports injuries, and women’s health.

Janis Kemper, PT and NPT co-owner, participated in the Geek the Library campaign

5. Myth: Physical therapy isn’t covered by insurance.
Fact: Most insurance policies cover some form of physical therapy. In fact, physical therapy is considered one of the Essential Benefits required of all health plans in Michigan. Beyond insurance coverage, physical therapy has proven to reduce costs by helping people avoid unnecessary imaging scans, surgery, or prescription drugs. Physical therapy can also lower costs by helping patients avoid falls or by addressing conditions before they become chronic.

6. Myth: Surgery is my only option.

Fact: In many cases, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating a wide range of conditions—from rotator cuff tears and degenerative disk disease, to meniscal tears and some forms of knee osteoarthritis. Those who have recently seen a physical therapist know this to be true, with 79% believing physical therapy can provide an alternative to surgery.

Our therapists help with hand and wrist pain too!
7. Myth: I can do physical therapy myself.

Fact: Your participation is key to a successful treatment plan, but every patient still needs the expert care and guidance of a licensed physical therapist. We will leverage our specialized education, clinical expertise, and the latest available evidence to evaluate your needs and make a diagnosis before creating an individualized plan of care.If you have any questions on physical therapy and how it can help you, we’d love to talk! Feel free to contact us at 616.997.6172 or via email so we can get more information about your areas of discomfort.

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