According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), there were already more than 300,000 licensed physical therapists in the country in 2019 alone. However, even with the growing number of practicing physical therapists and the millions of Americans who are benefiting from their care, there are still many people who are oblivious to the important role that PTs play in the healthcare system. This explains the misconceptions that continue to surround the healthcare discipline to this day.
If you’re on this page because you’re contemplating physical therapy but still skeptical about what it can do for you, we’ve listed a few misconceptions about it along with hard facts to dispel them.
Misconception #1 Physical Therapy Is Strictly Used for Accident Injuries.
Although it’s common for people with workplace or vehicle-accident injuries to undergo orthopedic physical therapy, its application isn’t limited to addressing such types of injuries. In fact, people suffering from arthritis, a herniated disc, carpal tunnel syndrome, and a broad range of other musculoskeletal issues can benefit from working with a physical therapist.
Even without an injury, you may still work with a physical therapist to learn some strategies and appropriate movement patterns to help lower your risk for injuries and other musculoskeletal problems.
Misconception #2 Surgery Is Your Only Option for an Orthopedic Problem.
Because physical therapy can effectively treat or manage a wide range of orthopedic problems, it can delay or even eliminate the necessity for surgery altogether. If your orthopedic doctor deems surgery necessary, they will still likely recommend preoperative or “prehab” physical therapy to get you into the best possible shape prior to your procedure and ultimately achieve an excellent outcome.
Misconception #3 Physical Therapy Is Painful.
While it can be challenging, since you’ll need to gradually move the area of your body that is in pain or had been injured or operated on, physical therapy in itself is not painful. In fact, it is the very thing that you need for your pain and other symptoms—even helping reduce your reliance on pain medications.
Your physical therapist will also work closely with you throughout your program to ensure your stretches and exercises are all safe and do not overtax the affected area of your body. Your physical therapist will use these along with certain therapeutic modalities to address your symptoms altogether. Over time, you should experience a remarkable improvement in not only your symptoms but your mobility and overall functional capacity as well.
Misconception #4 Any Healthcare Professional Can Perform Physical Therapy.
The truth is only a licensed and specially trained physical therapist is allowed to provide such care, albeit they can work with physiatrists, physical therapy assistants, occupational therapists, orthopedic physicians, and/or other members of your care team.
Physical Therapy in Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol, Tennessee
At Watauga Orthopaedics, we offer comprehensive, on-site physical therapy services at all of our locations. Our licensed physical therapists constantly strive to deliver the highest quality of personalized care—living up to our commitment to helping all of our patients recover in the quickest, safest, and most comfortable way possible.
To arrange an appointment for physical therapy, call us today at (423) 282-9011, so we can start getting you back to the activities and lifestyle you enjoy!