15 Facts about Physical Therapy That You Should Know 2 years ago

There are many things that people don’t know about physical therapy.

Like other professions, there are many misconceptions about physical therapy which people believe in. The prevalence of these misconceptions can lead to some people not getting the right care that they need.

Whether you are a thinking about being a PT or you are a potential patient, it’s important for you to know some facts about physical therapy. Here are some of the most interesting facts about this branch of healthcare:

  1. Types of Physical Therapy

There are different types of physical therapy. Like other branches of healthcare, there are also specializations within it. A specialization can focus on treating certain types of patients or it can be focused on treating specific health issues. Some types of physical therapy are acute care, orthopedic, post-operative care, cardiovascular rehab, wound care, and neurologic rehabilitation.

  1. Different Locations

Physical therapists can work in various locations. Aside from the various specializations that PTs can choose from, they can also work in different settings. They can work in hospitals, clinics, private practices, schools, and nursing homes. There are also home physical therapists who do home visits to their patients.

  1. PTs and Vertigo

Physical therapy can also treat vertigo. Some people believe that physical therapy can only be helpful when it comes to treating back pain and related ailments. The truth is that physical therapy can be helpful in alleviating other health issues. For example, physical therapy can be used to treat positional vertigo, which is dizziness that occurs when a person moves his head. A single therapy session can treat this condition.

  1. Advanced Degrees

Physical therapists have advanced degrees. A surprising number of people are unaware that PTs are required to have advanced degrees before they can practice. Many go to graduate school to further their education. They must pass a board exam before they can practice.

  1. Direct Access

You can go see a PT without seeing a doctor first in many states. In states where there is Direct Access, there is no need for a patient to see a doctor first to get a recommendation to see a PT. More states are leaning towards this practice now since physical therapy is fast growing.

  1. PT Massage

A PT massage is not like the massage you get at a spa. When you are told by a physical therapist that he is going to massage a certain muscle, don’t expect the same kind of massage that you will get in a spa. If you’re expecting a nice relaxing massage, then think again. PT massage is aimed towards restoring mobility and function of a joint.

  1. Many Americans Can Be Helped by PTs

Around two decades ago, one out of every seven people suffer from persistent pain. According to more recent figures, over 100 million Americans are now suffering from it, making it more widespread than diabetes, cancer, and heart disease put together.

  1. Not Just a Symptom

Pain is not just a simple symptom that we get to feel. It’s a complex behavioral experience. That is why pain can manifest from non-physical stressors that can show through actual physical symptoms.

The development of chronic pain is likely because of constant exposure to physical and non-physical stressors.

  1. Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is very real and is likely to stay for years to come. The basic misunderstanding of pain and the huge influence of the large pharmaceutical companies have on the medical community are major reasons why opioids are overly utilized, resulting in the dependence and inevitable addiction of so many patients.

The belief that pain is just a symptom is one of the reasons why so many people believe that quick fixes like opioids are the best way to treat pain. Physical therapists can offer alternatives that are safer and would work for the long term without having any harmful side effects.

  1. Imaging and Pain

Imaging and pain findings may not be correlated. What does that mean? That means for the spine, joints, and other parts of the body abnormal findings on the images would not necessarily point to a cause for pain.

Think of it in terms of your car. You won’t just take a picture of your car and expect a mechanic to be able to tell you what’s wrong with the vehicle. Imaging can be useful when it comes to ruling out some possibilities, but are not that useful when it comes to determining the causes for pain.

  1. Mental Health is Important

Mental health plays a significant role in the overall pain experience of an individual. A study has shown that there is a connection between back pain and the onset of mental health issues.

  1. Back Pain and Adolescents

The number of adolescents with back pain is rising. The symptoms are causing young people to miss school and work. It also influences their education. But the worst effect that it leads them to take pain medications.

  1. Affecting a Lot of People

Around 50% of all Americans over the age of 18 years old develop musculoskeletal issue that can last longer than a period of 3 months. That doesn’t mean that everyone with a musculoskeletal issue would have to see a PT, but most would benefit from physical therapy sessions.

  1. Not all PT Patients Are Compliant

Not all PT patients adhere to their plan of care. In fact, only 30% of all PT patients can comply to their care plan.  That’s a significant number.

  1. Average Outpatient Course of Care

The average outpatient course of care is between 7 to 10 visits. If that doesn’t sound a lot, that’s because it isn’t. Within that period, the treatment to a problem that has been plaguing a patient can be provided.

These are just some of the interesting facts about physical therapy which you should know about. Whether you are thinking about entering this field as a career or just as a layman who may have to see a PT someday, it would be interesting to know more facts like these. For more interesting articles about physical therapy and things related to it, you can check out the other posts on our blog.


Author: Christian Pilares

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