MYTHS of Physical Therapy

by Jessica Wenzlaff, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT – VPO

Physical therapists are movement experts who help people reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active throughout life. But there are some common MYTHS that often discourage people from seeking physical therapy.

It’s time to debunk 6 common myths about PT:

1. MYTH: I need a referral to see a physical therapist.

The Facts: Not necessarily! A recent survey by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) revealed 70% of people think a referral or prescription is required for evaluation by a physical therapist. However, a physician’s referral is not required to be evaluated by a physical therapist, unless your insurance requires it. You as the patient have the right to choose physical therapy FIRST and avoid having to pay other medical bills for a doctor’s visits just to get a referral.

2. MYTH: Physical therapy is painful.

The Facts: Pain free is our motto! Physical therapists seek to minimize (or completely get rid of) your pain and discomfort while optimizing the way you move! We work within your pain threshold to help you heal, restore movement and function. A survey found that 71% of people who have never visited a physical therapist think physical therapy is painful, BUT that number went down to only 6% in patients who have seen a physical therapist in the past year. The phrase “no pain no gain” is very outdated and not the motto of our clinic. We strive to get you PAIN FREE and back to the activities you love. 

3. MYTH: Physical therapy is only for injuries and accidents.

The Facts: PT is for everything! Physical therapists do a lot more than just stretch or strengthen weak muscles after an injury or surgery. We are skilled at evaluating and diagnosing potential problems before they lead to more serious injuries or disabling conditions—from carpal tunnel syndrome and frozen shoulder, to chronic headaches and lower back pain, we do a whole body movement screen to find the root cause of your pain to prevent it from coming back in the future. 

4. MYTH: Physical therapy isn’t covered by insurance.

The Facts: Most insurance policies cover some form of physical therapy! Beyond insurance coverage, physical therapy has proven to reduce costs by helping people avoid unnecessary imaging scans, surgery, or prescription drugs. Physical therapy can also lower costs by helping patients avoid falls or by addressing conditions before they become chronic. PT helps prevent future injuries and decrease the need for other medical interventions. 

5. MYTH: Surgery is my only option.

The Facts:  PT is your first line of defense! In many cases, physical therapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating a wide range of conditions—from rotator cuff tears and degenerative disk disease, to meniscal tears and some forms of knee osteoarthritis. PT is a safe option for all patient to try BEFORE considering surgery. 

6. MYTH: I can do physical therapy myself.

The Facts: Experts are still needed! Your participation is key to a successful treatment plan, but every patient still needs the expert care and guidance of a licensed physical therapist. Your physical therapist will perform an individualized assessment and create a plan of care that will successfully progress you to your full potential. Our physical therapists all have their doctorates and utilize their critical thinking skills to identify your individual needs to resolve your pain. Unfortunately what works for your best friend who had the same pain, likely will not work for you.  

If you previously believed one of these myths to be true, give one of our physical therapists a call or schedule a FREE 15 minute assessment! We love to chat with you about any concerns you may have and what might be your best option to get out of pain and back to the activities you love. 

Established in 2001

Connect with us:

1512 W Service Dr.
Winona, MN 55987


7:00 am – 6:00 pm
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