5 Myths about Physical Therapy....Busted!

by Becky Thompson, PT, CSCS

October is National Physical Therapy Month, so to celebrate, here are some myths – and myth-busters – about this important part of medical care:
Myth: Unless it hurts, it’s not helping.
Busted: Instead of “no pain, no gain,” it should be “no strain, no gain.” If physical therapy is done correctly, you should feel better for the experience, understand your pain, and learn how to work around rather than through the discomfort.
Myth: Physical therapy takes too much time.

Busted: If your physician orders physical therapy as part of your treatment plan, you won’t heal as well or as quickly without PT. Generally, our bodies tend to take the path of least resistance. Areas of weakness get weaker over time. Tight areas get tighter. Specifically targeting those areas with a custom-designed therapy plan is the best way to stop the degeneration. Time spent now may save you a lot of time – and pain -- in the future.
Myth: I can exercise on my own.
Busted: Yes, you can exercise on your own, and your therapist will give you exercises to do at home. But for the best outcome, you need both. A physical therapist will tailor an entire treatment regime specifically for you.  Plus, it’s important to learn what exercises to do and how to exercise properly so that you don’t further injure yourself.
Myth: A personal trainer is as good as a physical therapist when it comes to exercise.
Busted:  Although some physical therapists have only a bachelor’s degree, new physical therapists are required to obtain a doctorate degree. All are required to pass a licensing exam in the state in which they practice.  Physical therapists study neuroscience, movement science, physiology, anatomy, therapeutic exercise, manual therapy techniques, developmental disorders, pharmacology, human development, discharge and care planning.
To become a personal trainer no degree or medical training is required.  It can involve as little as a self-study course and final exam. 
Plus, physical therapists can teach you techniques to use at home to reduce pain and restore movement.
Myth: Physical therapy is too expensive.
Busted:  Consult your medical insurance company to see what coverage you have before deciding that it’s too expensive. It may be 100% covered. If not, this investment in your health is probably one of the best ways you can spend your health care dollars. You can also ask about payment plans, or financial hardship discounts. Therapists will do their best to help patients in need.

Rehabilitation Close to Home
At Gwinnett Medical Center, we offer a full range of rehabilitation services, including physical therapy. Learn more at gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/rehabilitation


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