Why physical therapy? What can they do for me? What does a physical therapist do anyway?
Physical therapists are considered the premier experts in musculoskeletal pain (movement, muscles, joints, etc.). If you are having any aches and pains the physical therapist is the person you should call. They can save you time and money and fix your aches and pains naturally.
In America, we usually call our primary doctor first with any aches and pains we might have. Medical doctors have very little training in muscle and movement problems, so they are probably going to give you a prescription for pain medication and a referral to see a physical therapist. Let’s say the pain medicine takes away your pain. That is great, but it didn’t fix the cause of the pain, which means the pain is likely to return and you will take more pain medication or return to your doctor again.
Physical therapists have years of training in how to assess movement and look for the cause of your pain. They are trained to read and understand research so they are giving treatments that are backed by evidence and not just doing something they think is good for you. They have more training than a massage therapist in how to work out tightness in not only muscles, but also joints, fascia and connective tissue. They have more training than a personal trainer or athletic trainer. Personal trainers can be very good at helping you exercise and lose weight, but they have little to no training in how to return safely to exercising after an injury or how to prevent an injury while working out. Athletic trainers are very good at assessing an injury on the spot and helping an athlete return to the field, but they have little training in how to rehabilitate an injury after it has occurred or how to prevent another injury from happening. Medical doctors are trained in how our organs, blood and brains work, but they have very little training or knowledge of what to do with muscle aches and pains and therefore can usually only offer pain medication.
But what if I go to a physical therapist and my pain is not coming from my muscles or movements? What if it is something more serious? Physical therapists have training in medical conditions, but more than that they can tell from their assessment if the pain is something more serious than a muscle strain and they will refer you to your medical doctor for further assessment.
There are physical therapists that specialize in sports injuries, in stroke rehabilitation, in water based therapy. Some work specifically with children and the movement skills children need to learn and grow. Physical therapists can help you return to your normal life after surgery. They can help you get back to exercising properly. There are even physical therapists that can help if you have trouble controlling your bowel or bladder.
The next time you have muscle aches and pains skip the doctor’s visit, skip the co-pay to the doctor, skip the pain medication prescriptions and go directly to see a physical therapist. They can save you time and money and it is legal in every state to skip the doctor visit and go straight to the physical therapist.