Seven Myths of Physical Therapy:

Myth 1: I need a physician’s prescription to see a physical therapist.
Fact: Seventy percent on consumers surveyed think they need a prescription to see a physical therapist but the fact is ALL 50 states allow a patient to be evaluated by a physical therapist without a prescription. In California, physical therapists can evaluate, and treat you for 45 days (or 12 visits, whichever is first), without the need for a prescription. If your physical therapist feels you need to see a physician they will refer you to see one.

Myth 2: Physical Therapy is painful!
Fact: Seventy One percent of people who have never visited a physical therapist think physical therapy is painful. That number decreases significantly among those seen by a physical therapist. Physical therapists are trained to work within a patient’s pain threshold. It is never our intention to make you more painful during, or after, therapy.

Myth 3: Physical Therapy is only for injuries and accidents.
Fact: Physical therapy, which became prevalent during World War I to help rehabilitate our injured service people, is a diverse allied health care practice that prevents injury and decreases pain while also promoting increased mobility, health, and wellness. Physical therapists do treat patients post injury, or accident, but also work hard to prevent injuries.

Myth 4: Any health care practitioner can perform physical therapy.
Fact: Although 58% of people believe other health care practitioners can administer physical therapy, only physical therapists (and physical therapy assistants) can legally perform physical therapy. Physicians, Chiropractors, trainers, etc. cannot legally perform physical therapy.

Myth 5: Physical Therapy isn’t covered by insurance.
Fact: Even though 1 in 5 people still believe physical therapy is not covered by their insurance, most insurance policies cover some amount of physical therapy services. The addition of the Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as Obamacare) actually requires physical therapy to be a part of new health insurance policies.

Myth 6: Surgery is my only option.
Fact: Over 79% of people who have been seen by a physical therapist believe it is an alternative to surgery. In fact, research shows in many cases it can be as effective as surgery. If surgery is required, your physical therapist will work in conjunction with your surgeon to provide you the best outcomes.

Myth 7: I can do physical therapist myself.
Fact: Fifty Eight percent of people think they can do, or unsure if they can do their own physical therapy. Licensed physical therapists have specialized education, and experience to perform physical therapy. As a licensed physical therapist, I know my outcome would be poor if I performed physical therapy on myself.

Andrew Vertson