Today is get PT 1st social media day. In honor of that here are 10 reasons to think about either getting PT first for your pain or injury problem, or using PT in conjunction with other treatment such as surgery, medication, injections, or further testing.
- PT is Effective: Research clearly shows that things like exercise, manual therapy, and education are effective for recovery from pain and injury. These are right in the wheelhouse for physical therapists. Research is now also showing that for things like menisectomies with knee pain, rotator cuff repairs for shoulders, back surgery, and injections, 1 year after people having therapy are at the same functional and pain levels as the people who have surgery.
- PT is Cost Effective: Not only is PT being shown to be as effective as surgery in many cases for common orthopedic injuries, it is much less expensive. Surgeries generally cost in the tens of thousands of dollars, where in Colorado you can easily get a full course of therapy for less than a thousand dollars, even longer courses of therapy will be less expensive that imaging, surgery, or injections. One recent study shows that people with back pain will spend on average $4700 less if they 1st use PT rather than starting with an MRI.
- Time: Despite being considerably less expensive, you generally get to spend a lot of time with your therapist. This allows your therapist to fully understand you and your situation, gives you time to ask questions and learn about your problem. You most likely will see your therapist more frequently than your a doctor. This allows your progress to be monitored, questions to be answered, and situations dealt with more quickly between dr. appointments. Do I need the medicine? Its hurting more did I damage it? Can I go back to work yet? How am I doing with my progress?
- Access: From my experience as a therapist, we tend to be very accessible to our clients. We answer phone calls quickly. We can generally schedule people reasonably quickly. If you are in pain before the weekend we can get you in, not 2 weeks from Thursday. If a situation comes up post surgically and you aren’t sure if it is a big deal or not we can talk to you on the phone or take a quick look on short notice. This can either give you peace of mind or catch something before waiting too long.
- Direct Access: In Colorado and many other states PTs have had direct access for many years. This means we can see people without referral from a doctor. If you have pain or injury that doesn’t require an ER visit we can save you the time and expenses of scheduling a doctor appointment for them to just send you to therapy. If you have had a therapist help you before, he/she is probably the best place to start with a recurrence or new injury.
- We Treat the Whole Person: In today’s medical system everything seems to be specialized. One person treats some of your issues, while another treats others. Frequently, especially with pain problems, multiple areas of your body may be an issue, along with multiple systems, muskuloskeletal, nervous, immune, cardiovascular, sympathetic etc…Therapists are trained to work with all of these systems and how to evaluate how they may be influencing each other and your problem.
- PTs Can Be a Bridge Between Conventional and Alternative Medicine: PTs are educated with an evidence based approach in a conventional medicine model. But because of our unique place in medicine, many of us work with people in alternative and ancillary wellness fields such as massage, accupuncture, yoga, trainers etc. We can help people understand how those fields can assist in your recovery in an evidence based way and help transition people to those areas as they are ready.
- PT is an Active Approach: Research shows that people who are active copers and who take an active approach will recover from injury and pain better than people with a passive coping approach. Many treatments commonly used are passive, such as surgery, medications and injections. These obviously have there places, but adding an active approach to these passive ones will help recovery. PTs work in an active recovery model. We use education for self care and management and exercise as primary components. We want to get people moving and understand their problem better to be able to recover faster or self manage as best they can.
- PTs Work With Everyone: Many people are aware that a PT might see you after surgery, but the list of areas we work is much bigger than most people are aware of. We may see you after knee surgery. We can work with people after a whiplash injury in a car accident or a back strain at work. You might see us on the side of the field during a high school football game. Therapists work with people after suffering strokes. We work with people the day of an injury, getting people out of bed and ready to return home after surgery in the hospital or with months or years long chronic pain after a failed back surgery. We can assess a factory for proper ergonomics or your mom’s house for safety when she is returning home after surgery. Some therapist manage weight loss fitness programs or cardiac rehab programs. Others work with kids with developmental delay. You will see therapists in clinics, hospitals, people’s homes, rehab centers, on the side of sports fields, using horses for equine therapy, in pools doing aqua therapy, in burn units, fitting an amputee with a prosthetic and many other places.
- PTs Want to Work With You: PTs get into this profession because we love to help people. We spend many years working on our degree and a lot of time doing continuing education and reading to keep up with science to help people the most effective ways we can. PT does not always seem like the easiest or simplest way to get better. Passive treatments seem like less effort, but in the long run working with a PT can be a great way to recover. And we love to help.
I hope this lets you know a little bit more about why getting PT 1st might be the right choice for you.