In our previous blog post “5 Physical Therapy Myths Debunked,” we revealed the truth behind some of the most common misconceptions regarding physical therapy. That post helped set the record straight, but we believe that the benefits of physical therapy cannot be emphasized enough. That is why we are debunking 10 more myths & misconceptions about physical therapy.
MYTH 1: “No pain, no gain!”
Pain is your body’s way of warning you about an injury. While exercise generally forces people to work through discomfort, training to the point of intense pain can increase the likelihood of injury. Furthermore, intense training through an existing injury can exacerbate tissue damage and inhibit the healing process, further delaying recovery. Ignoring the pain associated with an injury can also lead to dysfunctional motor patterns and chronic pain that could endure long after the injury heals. A physical therapist can guide patients through their training regimen and help them distinguish between helpful discomfort and harmful pain.
MYTH 2: Pain is localized with the underlying cause.
The body is an intricate system of interconnecting tissues grafted onto a sophisticated bone structure. Although your pain may be localized in your lower back, for example, the injury or condition might be in a different part of your body. Physical therapists have the expert knowledge to understand where pain comes from and how to address it.
MYTH 3: Stretching will solve muscle tightness.
Although stretching can help relieve tense muscles, tightness usually indicates that the muscle is overworking. In particular, tightness can be a symptom of misaligned bone structures or poor posture. Therefore, stretching will only provide temporary relief, until the underlying condition causing the muscle tightness is addressed. Physical therapists are trained to visualize the entire body to discover the cause of mysterious muscle tightness.
MYTH 4: Injuries don’t have deadlines for healing.
Injuries to certain tissues may have a general timetable for recovery. However, patients should not see them as a hard “deadline” for when injuries should heal. There are several factors that can affect recovery time, such as the patient’s age, history of recurring injury, lifestyle, posture, etc. As a result, patients should not be discouraged if their recovery takes longer than initially predicted. They also should not rush through exercises to regain mobility and strength, as this could possibly compound the injury.
MYTH 5: Physical therapists are glorified personal trainers.
While many physical therapy treatments may seem like they came from a workout video, licensed physical therapists undergo extensive training and education to do what they do. This allows physical therapists to personalize treatment to fit the individual and their condition to maximize recovery, and minimize risk of further injury.
MYTH 6: Only athletes and patients with musculoskeletal conditions require physical therapy.
Although athletes and patients with muscle or bone injuries give physical therapists a fair amount of business, physical therapy can address maladies from a broad spectrum of conditions related to neurological, cardiovascular, and other body systems. For example, physical therapy helps stroke victims recover their motor functions, and can help cancer patients deal with pain and numbness during recovery.
MYTH 7: Physical therapy isn’t necessary without a condition or injury to treat.
Even though doctors normally prescribe physical therapy to help patients recover from certain injuries without losing mobility, physical therapy can be used as a preventative measure as well. Like regular check-ups with your doctor, a preventative visit to your physical therapist allows them to have an up-to-date record of your physical condition.
A check-up gives your physical therapist an opportunity to keep an eye out for certain risks to improve several issues, including:
- Posture and gait;
- Hand-eye coordination;
- Motor planning;
- Muscle strength;
- Osteoarthritis; and
- Muscle tears.
MYTH 8: Surgery is the only option.
Many conditions that people often believe are treatable only through surgery can actually be addressed in physical therapy. In fact, physical therapy has proven to be an equally effective treatment for conditions such as rotator cuff tissue injuries, meniscal tears, degenerative disk disease, and certain types of osteoarthritis.
MYTH 9: I can do physical therapy on my own.
A few sessions in physical therapy may be enough for you to memorize treatment techniques. It’s true that physical therapists ultimately want their patients to successfully perform self-care. But to ensure patients get to that point, physical therapists provide the initial expert supervision required. Physical therapists have specialized training and stay current on the latest treatment techniques and case-studies so they can provide patients with the best plan of care for their condition.
MYTH 10: Physical therapy is expensive.
Patients who are covered by health insurance typically pay $10 to $75 per session (coinsurance of 10% to 50%) depending on the purpose or length of the visit. Those without health insurance can pay $50 to $350 per session. Costs for specific treatments for major conditions may be greater, depending on the condition and treatment.
The figures above aren’t too different from dentist costs. Many people see their dentists multiple times a year for routine checkups. This helps certain conditions from becoming progressively worse. Physical therapy can (and should) be viewed in a similar way. In fact, regular checkups with a physical therapist may reveal a condition that, if addressed early, could prevent you from requiring a more expensive surgical procedure down the road.
Get in Touch with a Physical Therapist in Monmouth County
Each of our licensed physical therapists at ProFysio Physical Therapy is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with additional specialties in orthopedics and orthopedic manual therapy. We can provide personalized treatment plans that fit your needs, so you can enjoy an improved quality of life with minimal pain or discomfort.
Call ProFysio Physical Therapy at (732) 333-6360 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.