You’ve tried various treatments, but your pain, stiffness, or injury keeps weaving its way back into your life.
The doctor’s advice didn’t help. The painkillers only provide temporary relief. The amount of time and money spent on failed solutions is giving you a headache.
You’re considering physical therapy. You’ve heard that it can get rid of your symptoms permanently, safely, and naturally.
But perhaps you’ve also heard a few myths that make you question whether physical therapy is worth it (especially if you’ve already poured time and money into failed treatments).
Getting sucked into physical therapy myths can prevent you from seeking the permanent relief that you crave.
This is a classic case of what you don’t know CAN hurt you.
Because if you keep waiting, or keep trying things that don’t work, your problem could get worse.
Even the most minor problem left untreated can lead to debilitating injury, chronic pain, or a severe issue that warrants surgery.
Obviously, no one wants that.
So, how about we banish these 7 most common physical therapy myths once and for all so that people like you can finally get the permanent treatment that they deserve?
Myth #1: You Need A Referral for Physical Therapy
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
Depending on your insurance plan, it might feel like you need a referral for any healthcare professional that you need.
Good news: that’s not true for physical therapy.
All 50 states have direct access legislation, which means that you can see a physical therapist directly, without a referral from your doctor, no matter which insurance you have.
That’s one less trip to the doctor’s office (and one less payment just to get a referral).
Plus, it means you can choose the best physical therapist for your needs. You are not restricted by picking within a network. Most insurances cover at least part of the cost for physical therapy.
Choose a physical therapist who specializes in your specific issue (for example, a physical therapist who specializes in spine physical therapy if you’re suffering with lower back pain).
A physical therapist is an expert in movement, physical injuries, and pain. This means you’ll get an accurate diagnosis and a much better treatment from a physical therapist than you would from your regular doctor.
Isn’t it nice to know that you can get expert treatment immediately?
Myth #2: A Physical Therapist Does Not Have More Training Than a Personal Trainer
Physical therapists, personal trainers…same thing, right?
A lot of people confuse personal trainers with physical therapists. They are actually very different from one another.
First, let’s start with the difference in education and training:
A personal trainer does not need to have certification (although the best personal trainers are NSCA certified).
On the other hand, all physical therapists in the United States must have a doctorate’s degree in physical therapy, in addition to continuous hands-on training.
A personal trainer isn’t required to have training to legally offer personal training services, but a physical therapist must receive a Doctor of Physical Therapy, which requires about seven years of schooling at a college/university.
Next, let’s look at the difference in what they do:
The actual jobs of a personal trainer and physical therapist are a lot different, as well.
A personal trainer helps people reach fitness goals. They guide clients through cardio and strength training exercises that are designed to help the client meet goals such as losing weight, getting toned, or getting faster.
A physical therapist helps prevent and treat pain, stiffness, or injuries. A physical therapist’s mission is to get patients back in motion and stay in motion.
So, while a personal trainer is not trained to help a client recover from a physical injury, they can refer the client to a great physical therapist who can.
Meanwhile, while a physical therapist does not specialize in certain fitness goals such as weight loss, they can refer the patient to a great personal trainer who can.
Myth #3: You Can Only Visit a Physical Therapist if You Are Already Hurt
If you’re reading this, our guess is that you’re currently dealing with pain or an injury.
That’s because most people only show up to physical therapy after they’ve had pain, stiffness, or an injury for at least a week.
But if you’re NOT experiencing these issues – why ever have to deal with them? You’re one of the lucky few that can get ahead and use physical therapy as preventative medicine rather than an after-the-fact treatment.
A lot of people assume that physical therapists only help people recover from injuries – not prevent them.
This assumption is totally false.
Although physical therapists successfully treat a variety of injuries and conditions, they’re also experts in injury prevention.
A physical therapist can easily pinpoint your “weak spots” (such as muscular imbalances, technique issues, or tightness) and work to strengthen those areas to help you avoid injury.
Physical therapy is usually the best option for many other conditions as well, such as: