One of the main reasons a person goes to their doctor is because of pain. Here’s a common example: Your low back is hurting and you’ve tried some things on your own but nothing seems to significantly reduce the pain. You go to your doctor probably with the hope he or she will prescribe medication. But instead of a prescription for pain medication, you walk out of the doctor’s office with a prescription for physical therapy. You are a little discouraged because you were hoping for a “quicker fix”. You wonder how physical therapy can help, how long it will take for your back to feel better, and how much it is going to cost.
Hopefully at this point you take your doctors medical prescription and call the physical therapy office of your choice to schedule an appointment. You do this because you understand that when it comes to the human body and health, doctors know a little more than you do. They read the research and are well informed to the treatments that are proven to work, and those that are not. They know the benefits and risks of medication. They know that physical therapy is often an effective first treatment option for all sorts of musculoskeletal conditions. So instead of prescribing pain medication, most doctors are now prescribing physical therapy to their patients with conditions such as low back pain.
But there are those who seemingly disregard professional advice and choose not to do physical therapy. I understand that there may be some respectable reasons for not choosing to do physical therapy but I would argue that reasons to do physical therapy are much stronger than any reasons not to do physical therapy. For those still on the fence, now or in the future, let me give you 7 good reasons to see a physical therapist.
#1 Reduction or elimination of pain
Physical therapists can manage or eliminate pain without medication and its side effects. Studies have shown that people who choose physical therapy usually experience a greater enhancement in function with reduced pain. Although medication may be prescribed in some cases, physical therapy helps a great deal when it comes to the reducing of pain and eliminating the need for any pain medication.
#2 Shorter recovery period
You can shorten your period of recovery by opting for physical therapy. Injuries involving a joint, muscle, or ligament usually cause a specific part of the body to become stiff or immobile. Without physical therapy, it could take a long time for you to regain full mobility in the injured area. Or worse, you could permanently lose strength, mobility and function as a result of an injury that has not been fully rehabbed. As you start getting used to physical therapy, it will become easier to do once you see that your strength and overall health are improving.
#3 Improving Mobility And Maintaining Independence
Physical therapists have the most specialized education to help improve mobility. Many PT’s are seasoned veterans with years of clinical practice and newer graduates are Doctors of physical therapy. All are trusted health care professionals who have extensive education and experience in diagnosing and treating conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life.
In addition, physical therapists can teach you how to manage a condition so you can achieve long-term health benefits and remain independent and safe.
#4 Avoiding surgery
If your injury heals after you undergo physical therapy, you may not need surgery. Even if you still require surgery, you will benefit greatly from pre-surgery physical therapy. When you go into surgery stronger and in good shape, you are more likely to recover faster after the procedure. Hefty health care costs can be avoided by eliminating surgery.
#5 Improving your balance and preventing falls
Before you start your physical therapy sessions, you will be screened for fall risk. Those who are at a high risk for falls usually do exercises that carefully and safely challenge their balance in a way that mimics real-life situations. A therapist will also help you with exercises that improve your coordination and the use of assistive devices that aid safer walking. If your balance issue is caused by problems in your vestibular system, the physical therapist can perform maneuvers that will restore your vestibular system to proper working order, eliminating dizziness and vertigo.
#6 Preventing or recovering from a sports injury
PT’s spend a lot of time understanding human movement. Applying this knowledge to sports helps PT’s know how different sports can increase your risk for specific injuries. We then can design an appropriate prevention or recovery exercise program that will ensure a safe return to your sport.
#7 Less Money—Better Life
Even if you have a co-pay or deductible for physical therapy the money you spend now often pales in comparison to the money that will be spent down the road if your issue is not taken care of properly. Effective physical therapy will not only help your problem today, it has a preventative benefit so that the chances of your problem reoccurring are minimized. The end result is that not only will you spend less money overall, but you will live better, with improved health and function.