Physical therapy is a form of health care that falls under the umbrella of rehabilitation. However, physical therapists do much more than simply help you manage your pain as you recover from an injury. Physical therapy covers a wide range of practices and techniques designed to help patients achieve the highest possible quality of life. There are many overall wellness benefits that can be gained from physical therapy as well.
The goal of physical therapy should always be to help you return to your daily routine. Patients suffering from work- or sports-related injuries, dealing with long-term musculoskeletal or nervous system conditions, or looking to increase their physical fitness can achieve this goal with physical therapy as a part of their plan.
Physical therapy is also a treatment method that many physicians and patients prefer over surgery. Surgeries can be costly and sometimes risky. Patients are often prescribed pain medications after surgery that have undesirable side effects. Many physicians will refer patients who wish to avoid surgery and prescription pain medication to a physical therapist instead.
How can I benefit from physical therapy?
There are many circumstances in which physical therapy can benefit you. Whether you are in need of rehabilitation or you are looking for assistance with your overall health and wellness, there are many ways that a physical therapist can help.
Here are five benefits that you can expect to gain from physical therapy:
- Reduced pain — It can be difficult to focus on recovery while you are in pain. That is why reducing your pain should be the first goal of a physical therapy program. Therapists use trusted medication-free techniques that are designed to reduce pain, such as soft tissue mobilization and electrical stimulation therapy.
- Improved mobility — Injuries and other conditions can often cause us to lose some or all of our mobility in the affected parts of our body. Losing our ability to walk, bend or perform certain tasks without aid greatly reduces our quality of life. It can also be detrimental to our recovery when we can’t exercise or move the part of our body that needs it most.
Physical therapy employs techniques to help patients return to their normal levels of mobility. Joint mobilization, stretching and therapeutic exercises are just a few of the techniques a therapist might use. A physical therapist can also assist in fitting you for canes, braces and other assistive devices that can help improve your mobility.
- Increased strength — Many of the techniques employed by physical therapists are designed to strengthen the areas of the body that are injured or painful. Muscles often become weaker during recovery due to lack of use. By strengthening areas of the body that need it, physical therapy also helps to prevent injuries from occurring in the future. Athletes who are in training especially benefit from strength-increasing physical therapy methods.
- Personalized care — One of the greatest benefits of physical therapy is the personalized care that you will get from your physical therapist. Every patient has different needs. Customized physical therapy plans are the best way to pursue a complete and successful recovery. Your physical therapist should talk with you and listen to your concerns before deciding which course of treatment is right for you.
- Lower costs — Physical therapy helps to lower your health care costs in more than one way. Expensive doctor visits can often be avoided by seeing a physical therapist first. Many clinics now offer telehealth options. This reduces the number of clinic visits needed, saving you money on transportation costs.
Do I need a physician’s referral for physical therapy?
While many primary care doctors refer patients to physical therapy, a referral is not needed in most circumstances. There are some forms of health care that are available through what is known as direct access, and physical therapy is one of them. With direct access, you don’t need to see a doctor to access the benefits of physical therapy.
Direct access means that a patient who is experiencing a problem can make an appointment on their own. They do not need to be referred by a doctor or specialist to gain access to physical therapy services.
Currently, physical therapy is available in all 50 states through direct access. However, some states place limits on the types of services that your insurance will cover without a referral. It is best to consult your insurance company to see what options are available to you.
How do I choose the physical therapy clinic that is best for me?
If you are seeking the highest standards in care from providers who will put you first, look to Alliance Physical Therapy Partners. We are growing a community of exceptional physical therapy practices across the United States. Our focus is to keep the patient and their needs at the center of everything that we do. We work with the greatest network of resources and experts available in the industry to make this happen.
Find a location near you for more information about how we can help you find the best physical therapy services in your area.