Ask a PT: do I need a prescription from my doctor for PT?

“Ask a PT” will be a weekly feature on Fridays in our blog, where we answer questions we get from our clients or posters on this site or our Facebook page.  So if you have a question about some sort of injury or problem you are having whether pain or fitness related drop us a line in the comments or Facebook message, or you can email us at

This weeks question is: “do I need a prescription from my doctor to come to PT?”

The general answer to this question is, no, you do not legally need a prescription for PT.  You can see a physical therapist directly without a doctor’s referral under the Colorado Direct Access for Physical Therapy Law.  In the state of Colorado, you can go to any physical therapy clinic that has a self-pay option and receive services directly, often for a discounted rate if you pay that day and many offer packages. If you want to use insurance to cover your physical therapy visits, most major insurances companies  (i.e. United Healthcare, Aetna, Blue Cross/Blue Shield) will cover physical therapy without a doctor’s referral. If you are under Medicare or a Worker’s Compensation insurance, you will be required to have a doctor’s referral, and if you have insurance through a non-major insurance company such as a county or government-driven plan, you may want to check won their policy for physical therapy direct access.

Physical therapists are healthcare professionals that are trained in identifying musculoskeletal and neuromuscular sources of pain and dysfunction. PT’s are also educated in screening for issues that are not of that nature, and are able to identify when a patient is not appropriate for PT. In this case, a referral would be made to the appropriate healthcare provider.


If you are unsure whether or not your insurance plan will cover you without a prescription, and you are interested in physical therapy services, give us a call at our Avon office at (970) 949-9966 or at our Eagle office at (970) 328-5230.

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