Healthcare Habit: 5 Physical Therapy Myths Debunked

As you may already know, October is National Physical Therapy Month! To celebrate physical therapists everywhere, we’re debunking several myths surrounding the profession.

If you’ve never visited a physical therapist before, or have heard some disquieting rumors that have discouraged you to do so, take a look at these 5 common misconceptions about physical therapy.

1. Myth: Physical therapy is extremely painful.
Fact: Yes, some discomfort may be experienced while undergoing physical therapy, but physical therapy is meant to reduce pain and not increase it. “No pain, no gain” is only true in rare cases. Let your physical therapist know when you are in pain, and they can adjust your therapy accordingly. The main objective is to help you heal while working within your pain threshold.

2. Myth: I need a prescription or a referral to see a physical therapist.
Fact: Most people believe that you require a prescription or referral for an evaluation by a physical therapist. Yet in all 50 states, patients can be evaluated by a physical therapist without a physician’s referral. In many states, you may also receive some form of treatment without a referral or prescription. Take a look at APTA’s direct access to physical therapy laws chart before scheduling your physical therapy visit.

3. Myth: Physical therapy isn’t covered by health insurance.
Fact: Actually, most insurance plans cover physical therapy to some degree. In this case, you may need a physician’s prior referral to ensure insurance coverage.

4. Myth: Physical therapy only helps injuries and accidents.
Fact: Physical therapists not only help patients recover from injuries and accidents; they also can diagnose potential problems before they lead to serious or disabling conditions. To name a few, physical therapists can assist with carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic headaches and lower back pain.

5. Myth: I can perform my own physical therapy.
Fact: While a patient’s participation is essential for recovery, they still require a professional’s guidance and expertise. Only a licensed physical therapist can create an individualized plan for successful treatment.

If you’re experiencing chronic pain or discomfort, it may be time to visit a physical therapist. Physical therapy can transform your life and lead to a healthier you.