Ask the average person what a physical therapist does, and you are likely to get… someone who helps people walk, someone who stretches out muscles, or maybe you’ll just get a blank look. Well, actually physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts, that is, the specialist you should see if you have a problem with your bones, muscles, joints, or even nerves, with the exception of fractures and severe problems or trauma needing surgery (then you’ll need us afterward). While the everyday person may believe that physical therapists treat the knee and the shoulder, a manual physical therapist is actually the provider of choice for treating typical back pain, neck pain, headaches, TMJ dysfunction, as well as the muscles, joints, and tendons at the hips, knees, ankles, toes, shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
When it comes to treating all of these areas of the body, a great physical therapist does far more than just treat the joint that seems to be symptomatic. We also take extra time to look above and below that joint to find the source of your pain, and then go ahead and treat the source of that pain as well as the symptoms you originally came in for, so your pain does not return and further limit your activities. We also look at how you move. Is this what is getting you into trouble? Is your desk set up incorrectly? Are you performing repetitive activities to one side? Are you sitting all day without a break? Are you sleeping in a poor position, with a poor pillow and mattress? We really do try to think of EVERYTHING affecting your pain, so you can get back to normal ASAP.
How do you know when to go to physical therapy versus seeing your doctor, or your chiropractor? Great question! Consider the following stats to help you know which direction to pursue first…
- About 50% of insurance plans allow direct access to PT, which means if you know you need PT (not drugs, not an X-ray), you can call MotionWorks yourself without having to pay to see your doctor first for the referral.
- If you come to PT, but are not an appropriate patient for PT, no worries. We will direct you to the place you need to be to get care right away, with the best specialist for the job.
- The average hospital stay costs $10,000, and the second most common reason for a hospital stay is related to a musculoskeletal condition, with almost 66% of all adults ages 45-84 accounting for those costs. Why not catch the problem early and utilize physical therapy, which at a high estimate would cost less than $2,000.
- Physical therapy does not have side effects like fatigue, weight gain, nausea, etc, that medications tend to have.
- Physical therapists will not only address your back, and your neck, but also the rest of your body mechanics (how you move) to keep your pain from returning. Plus, we’ll teach you how to fix your own back if your pain should flare again, saving you time and money (and of course, pain!).
- While getting a massage is an amazing, relaxing experience, manual physical therapists perform soft tissue work that is specific to your painful areas and is covered by your insurance plan.
- Acupuncture can help treat pain, but physical therapy will not only help relieve your symptoms, but teach you exercises to keep that pain from coming back, so no more out of pocket expenses!
- A personal trainer is a great adjunct to getting on track with a fitness program, but your physical therapist can help you out too by developing a training program complete with exercises specific to your body’s needs, current and previous injuries, and develop the right sets, reps, exercise selection, rest, and recovery to get you out of trouble and keep you on the move!
Clearly the value of physical therapy is powerful in both how effective it is, while still being a conservative and natural approach to care, and in how much money you can save when you avoid unnecessary tests, medications, and specialty appointments. Not only does it work, in the long run it saves time and money when compared to the other options listed above. We work as a team with other medical professionals, too, sharing our notes and findings so you can get the very best, continuous care possible no matter who you see. So the next time that ache or pain becomes more than an every now and then occurrence, try physical therapy, and experience the value of a manual physical therapist.