4 Top Reasons Physical Therapy is Important
By Ehren Allen, PT/Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist
Physical therapy has become the treatment of choice for most injuries. Research shows that patients who go to PT have a much higher chance of avoiding surgery. Physical Therapy also improves outcomes after injuries and surgeries. The evidence is so strong that many insurance companies now require that patients receive physical therapy care before authorizing MRIs and advanced testing. This is because many patients will improve with PT without advanced testing. Of course, there are exceptions with severe injuries. Why is physical therapy important after an injury? Below are the 4 top reasons physical therapy is important.
What are the 4 Top Reasons Physical Therapy is Important?
1. Physical Therapy is Conservative Care
The quick answer is that physical therapy helps to improve mobility and strength. This helps with recovery from injuries, but it also can help prevent further injuries later. Helping the body function better and properly is an important part of recovery. A physical therapist can evaluate and treat movement disorders from injuries or are causing pain. It is important to remember that the body has a remarkable capability to heal itself. Physical therapy promotes that process.
2. Physical Therapy Improves Outcomes
When the body is injured, the brain alters muscle activity to protect the injured area. This is a response to pain and swelling. The problem is that once the body is healed, the muscle activity does not always return to normal. Physical therapy addresses these issues and helps to restore normal neuromuscular activity. This improves the outcome after injuries.
In my experience, joint stiffness is common after an injury. With some shoulder injuries, patients can develop a frozen shoulder. Frozen shoulder limits normal mobility and can be very painful. After a shoulder injury or surgery, early physical therapy can help maintain normal movement and range of motion.
3. A Physical Therapist can Screen for Issues that may Require a Physician
Historically, patients were seen by a physician, then referred for diagnostic testing. Then they are referred to physical therapy as a last resort. We now know that it is vital to begin physical therapy early to help avoid complications and promote faster healing. The physical therapy profession has evolved over the past 30 years.
Physical therapists now enter the profession with a doctoral level of education. The training for a physical therapist includes medical screening, diagnostic imaging, and pharmacology. While in most states, physical therapists do not prescribe medications or order films. The therapists and physicians at JOI work closely together to obtain the best possible outcome for you!
4. Physical Therapy Saves Money
Studies show that early physical therapy decreases the total cost of care for many patients. In 2004, Starbucks requested that their employees with uncomplicated low back pain be sent to physical therapy. This was the first line of treatment before ordering tests and films. This request came after they looked at their employees’ treatments. They found out that they almost always ended up in physical therapy after all the tests and films were ordered. By placing physical therapy at the beginning of the treatment plan, most patients recovered without requiring further tests or films. Therefore, this significantly lowered the cost of their care.
Many insurance companies have adopted this process and now require a physical therapy trial to cover diagnostic imaging or advanced testing.
In summary, physical therapy is a common and appropriate conservative treatment for many injuries. Early physical therapy makes a difference!
Make an appointment by calling (904)-858-7045 for Physical Therapy
If you would like to see a physical therapist, the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute can help. JOI offers physical therapy in 12 locations in Northeast Florida, as well as orthopedic doctors and surgeons. Call JOI-2000 or click the link below to schedule an appointment.