True or False; Physical Therapy Edition. Clearing up common misconceptions of Physical Therapy.

Maggie Getler, DPT

True or False? Physical therapy is only for acute injuries and after surgery. The answer is false.

Physical therapy can help with a variety of symptoms and impairments including but not limited to those related to acute injuries and post-surgery. So, what other conditions can physical therapy help with?

  • Acute AND chronic pain
  • Vertigo/dizziness
  • Balance and/or fear of falling
  • Sports injuries
  • Neuro diagnoses, such as Parkinson’s or post stroke
  • Gait (walking) dysfunction
  • Muscle weakness
  • Concussions
  • Pain after motor vehicle accident

Overall, the aim of physical therapy is to improve your quality of life through hands on manual treatment, prescription of exercises, and patient education.

True or False? I can do my physical therapy on my own, I do not need to see a licensed physical therapist. The answer is false.

Physical therapists are movement specialist who are trained to identify musculoskeletal and other body system impairments that may contribute to your pain and/or symptoms. Physical therapists use this information to create you a personalized exercise program to address both your personal goals and your identified impairments, which can include decrease flexibility, muscle weakness, increase dizziness with change of positions, or fear of falling. Physical therapists also utilize manual techniques as deemed appropriate, such as soft tissue massage, trigger point release, manual stretching, and joint mobilization, to help decrease the intensity of your symptoms in order to allow you to perform your activities of daily living without difficulty.

Additionally, physical therapy provides you a safe place to perform exercises or practice your balance under supervision of a physical therapist who is trained to identify movement dysfunctions (compensations) that may be lending to your continued pain. For example, a physical therapist can identify a muscle weakness or improper body mechanics during lifting or squatting activities that may be contributing to your continued low back pain. As you progress through physical therapy, your therapist will implement and educate you on a home exercise program that you can perform at home to help further your progress. A home exercise program is also prescribed at the end of your course of treatment to prevent risk of re-injury.

True or False? Physical therapy cannot be done with other pain management interventions. The answer is false.

Physical therapy is often done in conjunction with other pain management interventions and together the different services help optimize your functional mobility. AOSMI believes in the importance of the interprofessional relationship and offers Acupuncture services at all locations. This allows our patients the opportunity to attend both physical therapy and acupuncture to help improve their overall outcomes. At AOSMI, our acupuncturist and physical therapists collaborate to improve your quality of life!

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