Physical Therapy: The Best Kept Secret in Healthcare
The most affordable way to get rid of your pain, prevent injuries, and transform your life.
Physical therapy is, by far, the most overlooked and undervalued portion of the healthcare spectrum, often only considered when someone is recovering from surgery; physical therapy, however, is beneficial in many other ways.
Physical therapists can address balance issues, dizziness, falls, aches/pains, gait abnormalities, weakness, mobility issues, orthopedic injuries and even incontinence! Physical therapy is also one of the best ways to prevent future injury. The best news is that you do not need a prescription from your physician to see a physical therapist!
You heard that right– physical therapists are direct access healthcare providers. This means that you do not need a prescription from your physician to see a physical therapist. As of 2015, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands allow patients to see a licensed physical therapist for an evaluation and treatment. Each state has various rules regarding what level of treatment and length of time you can see a physical therapist before needing a prescription; however, these rules will likely be changed in the next few years. So, what does this mean for you? It means you now have access to a licensed physical therapist without having to waste your time and money on unnecessary appointments with your doctor.
Economical and Cost Effective
There is clear evidence and extensive research proving that physical therapy is much cheaper than most other healthcare options. A recent study reported that when physical therapy is used as the initial intervention, instead of injections, patients save 19%. When utilizing physical therapy instead of surgery, there is an average savings of 75%. Savings over time also increases when utilizing physical therapy as the first intervention after an injury, with several studies finding that patients incurred fewer additional costs and had decreased need for surgery and other procedures. Studies show that starting physical therapy within the first 15 days of an injury results in lower costs compared to waiting. The moral of the story is, see your physical therapist at the first sign of injury if you want to avoid unnecessary costs, procedures, and prolonged pain!
There have been many studies over the last 10 years looking at the long-term effects of surgery vs. physical therapy. Guess what? In most of these studies the results point to physical therapy as the superior intervention. Functional mobility and pain levels show no significant differences between physical therapy and surgery groups. When choosing physical therapy first, you avoid negative side effects or surgical complications while also saving money. This is why most healthcare professionals choose conservative management (physical therapy) before attempting a surgical approach. Furthermore, early physical therapy intervention, even before a planned surgical procedure, leads to improved outcomes after surgery. So even if you have a planned surgical procedure, like a knee replacement or an ACL reconstruction, you should see your physical therapist before going under the knife.
Expertise and Education
Most physical therapists do not like to brag out their level of education, but it is an important aspect of healthcare so that you know you are seeing an expert. In the United States, you are now required to get a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) in order to become a licensed physical therapist. That’s right, your physical therapist is a doctor too. Physical therapists spend years in school to become an expert in movement and musculoskeletal disorders. They have more schooling and experience in musculoskeletal issues compared to most other healthcare professionals. When considering who to see first, consider the knowledge and expertise that each member of your healthcare team has.
Remember, you have a choice when considering your healthcare goals. Physical therapists have the knowledge and expertise to address your aches and pains and you may even save some money in the process. Who doesn’t like being pain-free, saving money, and preventing future injuries? If you need further guidance, contact Transform Rehabilitation and schedule your screen to get on the right track and live pain-free! Feel free to post any questions or comments on our social media pages and remember to subscribe to our mailing list to stay on top of all things Transform Rehabilitation.
Kyle Lance, PT, DPT