Ten Things You May Not Know about Physical Therapy

It’s October, and that means Happy National Physical Therapy Month!  For the next 31 days, we’ll be sharing useful, interesting, funny, and educational information related to Physical Therapy.  We’re kicking off NAPTM’17 with some fun facts about Physical Therapy you may not already know! (If you do, you’re a PT rockstar!)

10.  Physical therapists can work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, private practices, home health agencies, schools, nursing homes, and even the Emergency Room.

9.  In addition to working in different settings, there are different types of physical therapy. These may include orthopedic, acute care, post-operative care, cardiovascular and pulmonary rehab, lymphedema management, wound care, and neurologic rehabilitation.  At Advanced Physical Therapy, we focus on orthopedics and sports medicine, although we see patients with a host of different challenges and injuries.

8.  Physical therapists can treat vertigo. Positional vertigo, when you experience very brief bouts of dizziness with changes in position or movement of the head, is the most common cause of dizziness. It is a dysfunction of the vestibular system in the inner ear. It can successfully be treated in as little as one session with a physical therapist.  Our vestibular specialist, Pam Hubert of APT Wolcott, is available for consultations and treatment.  You can call our office at 293-879-0107 to schedule an appointment.

7. Physical therapists hold advanced degrees. Many years ago, all it took to practice physical therapy was a bachelor’s degree. However, our scope of practice and knowledge of medicine has grown tremendously in the last few decades that most graduate programs offer  Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) degrees. Physical therapists also have to pass a medical board exam in order to obtain their license to treat patients.

6.  In many states, you can be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist without seeing your doctor first. These states have Direct Access. More states are leaning towards this practice since the profession of physical therapy is growing so rapidly with the requirement of an advanced degree. Currently, Connecticut is a Direct Access state, and most patients do not need a prescription from a doctor to be treated by a physical therapist.

5.  Physical therapists alone cannot diminish your symptoms. While PT’s do see incredible results, they don’t perform magic. Physical therapy is successful when the patient and the therapist work together on creating a treatment plan in order to meet the patient’s goals.

4.  If you tell your physical therapist that an exercise is easy, we will make it harder. If you tell your physical therapist that you can’t do an exercise, we will find a way to ensure that you can.

3.  When a physical therapist tells you they are going to massage a muscle, it may not feel like the nice relaxing massage you get at the spa. Massage performed in therapy is to decrease tightness and tone and to improve tissue mobility of a specific muscle that may be very inflamed or the source of joint pain.

2.  “No Pain, No Gain” does not always hold true. There are a few diagnoses where this saying holds true, such as when working on range of motion after a knee replacement or if you have a frozen shoulder. Most of the time, treatments and exercises should be relatively pain-free. If being treated for low back pain or an overuse injury in a tendon, you want to stay away from certain movements or positions that may aggravate the condition.

1.  It is so important to do your home-exercise program! There is a reason that your physical therapist puts in the time and effort of designing a home program specifically for you. If you don’t follow their recommendation during therapy or after you are discharged, you will get to know your therapist very well because you will be seeing them again and again for the same problem.