Physical therapists are experts on movement, and they’re also experts on reducing pain, improving your mobility or helping you reach a higher level of mobility than you currently have on your own. They want to see you stay active throughout your life, and… well, we’re here to tell you about some common myths and misconceptions about physical therapists that plague physical therapy centers such as AmeriWell.
Physical therapists try to identify the root cause of your issues and treat it, they want to help your pain, not cause you more, so they’re focusing on the long-term not the short-term. Surgery, sure, seems like it focuses on long-term, but surgery focuses on the now—what do you need right now to be okay in this moment? Not what happens after.
“Surgery is my only option.”
Did you know that physical therapy is shown to be just as effective as surgery in treating many conditions? From rotator cuff tears, degenerative disk disease to osteoarthritis in the knees. Physical therapy tries to teach people prevention, so even if you are injured and require surgery, you may see a physical therapist too. This is because your therapist is going to help you heal the muscles, the tendons, and get flexibility, mobility and more back.
Let’s take a closer look at what physical therapy can treat:
Lymphedema: This is the excess gathering of floods in the lymphatic system that can move around the bloodstream and cause swelling. Physical therapists can specialize in CDT or complete decongestive therapy to reduce swelling and prevent future buildup.
Sports injuries: Specific types of sports injuries such as stress fractures can be treated by a physical therapist, and this can open up new methods of preventing said injuries later on and keep your career going longer.
Muscular dystrophy: The muscles and skeleton degenerate as you age, or due to disorders. You can treat this with mobility exercises and supporting frames, and a physical therapist is the person you’d want to work alongside for that.
Back and neck pain: Pain that is acute or chronic may last for months, weeks, years. It can cause you to decrease your function so that you can try to handle the pain. In physical therapy they can treat the pain and help you get back to functioning normally.
“I can do physical therapy alone.”
Well, your participation is key to successful treatment but… wouldn’t you rather work with somebody who can guide you and has a license to do so? It means there’s a lessened chance of you getting hurt trying to do physical therapy you may not need, or overdoing what you do need. Physical therapists have education, clinical expertise, and evidence from medical journals to use when treating patients. They want to correctly diagnose you before treatment so that you are not doing anything unnecessary and possibly hurting yourself further. Let them do their jobs and help you; you’ll probably thank them in the long run when you have your function back to normal.