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8 Facts About Physical Therapy That Patients Often Misunderstand

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As highly regarded and in-demand as physical therapy has become these days, patients still hold certain misconceptions about what exactly physical therapists do and what good physical therapy actually involves. To clear up the confusion, it’s important to understand these facts about physical therapy services.

Prevention is better than rehabilitation: Many patients seem to believe that physical therapy is purely for rehabilitating injuries; or worse yet, that they have to hurt “enough” to even visit a physical therapist. However, as rightly said by many family health centers: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Patients who seek early help from a physical therapist can keep minor aches and pains from becoming major injuries. This is especially true for athletes whose imbalances and uneven movement patterns can lead to injuries when left untreated.

Good physical therapy services involve many techniques: Patients often fail to understand that good physical therapy involves a multi-faceted approach. People think of physical therapy purely as modalities, massages, or other techniques to which they have been exposed. Therapeutic exercise is the go-to treatment method for most therapists but the movement is even more effective when paired with modalities, manual therapy and patient education.

You can see a physical therapist (PT) without seeing a doctor: While some health insurance companies restrict direct access to a specialist, some now allow patients to seek physical therapy without a physician’s referral. And patients who get referrals for one physical therapist can choose to see a different one.

Only licensed physical therapists can administer physical therapy services: According to recent research, only 42% of consumers know that physical therapy must be performed by a licensed physical therapist, and 37% believe that other health care professionals provide the same services. But one must acquire a physical therapy license to practice, and additional certifications are required for clinicians in manual therapy, pelvic floor treatment, and other specialties.

Physical therapists work in many different settings: When people think of physical therapy, they describe the setting as therapeutic exercise, functional activities, and modalities administered to injured athletes, service personnel, and post-operation patients. What patients do not understand is that physical therapists are as diverse as physicians in their settings and specialties. From hospitals to nursing homes to neurorehabilitation centers, physical therapists can be found in all healthcare environments.

There are different types of physical therapy services: Just as physical therapists work in a variety of settings, they also use specific skills to treat various patient populations and conditions. These specialists are exposed to different skill sets during Physical therapy school, but some believe the definition is only as broad as their exposure.

Physical therapy services aren’t just for post-operative rehabilitation: As physical therapy is increasingly recommended to patients with joint replacements, muscle reattachments, and other surgeries, patients have come to believe in a “surgery first, therapy second” mindset. But physical therapy can not only precede surgery, it can also prevent it.

Diet and exercise are important to rehab success: Like most other healthcare professionals, physical therapists contend with a variety of lifestyle-related conditions. Smoking, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions significantly influence the musculoskeletal system, impeding physical therapy and slowing recovery. For many patients, physical therapy is only effective when they change their diets, exercise habits, and other lifestyle factors.

The field of physical therapy is still growing, and patients are still becoming more knowledgeable. Agile Urgent Care offers affordable, manageable action plans and physical therapy services with qualified therapists who are there to bring you back up to speed, at your speed.

Contact us now for more details!

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