Park Slope MythBusters: 5 Surprising Misconceptions About Physical Therapy

Listen up, Park Slope, Brooklyn – because we’re about to spill the beans and expose five of the biggest myths and misconceptions about physical therapy.

Ryan Brennan

Pain, injuries, discomfort, immobility, trauma, ailments, physical limitations, surgery…

As much as we try to avoid these things and act like they can’t or won’t happen to us, the simple truth is that they’re a normal and inevitable part of everyday living – and even, in some cases, unpreventable. 

But that doesn’t mean they’re untreatable. 

In fact, that’s what physical therapy is for.

Physical therapy, also known as physiotherapy, is a collection of exercises, movements, massages, and other treatments that aim to relieve pain, help you move better, and/or strengthen weakened muscles. 

When pain overstays its welcome, physical therapists come to the rescue. 

At PhysioRX, we take pride in being that beacon of hope for many living in the Park Slope, Brooklyn community – and there’s nothing we enjoy more than helping our clients live a happier and healthier life. 

Exposing the Truth: Here’s What They Don’t Tell You About PT

When most people hear the term ‘physical therapy’ or ‘PT,’ they immediately think of professional athletes recovering from a major injury or someone trying to learn how to walk again after a tragic car accident. 

Two very real scenarios, but it only begins to scratch the surface of what physical therapy is. 

And it goes to show just how little the average person knows about PT and how beneficial it could be. 

But that’s what we’re here for. 

We’re about to spill the beans and expose five of the biggest myths and misconceptions about physical therapy – that way, we all have an accurate and realistic expectation of what it is and why it’s important. 

Myth #5: Physical therapy is only for injuries. 

It doesn’t matter what type of injury you’re dealing with or surgery you’re recovering from – physical therapy is almost certainly going to be on your to-do list at some point during the healing process. 

But that’s not the only thing physical therapy is good for. 

Pigeonholing physical therapists to treatment and recovery would be a lot like pigeonholing the potato to a french fry. Potatoes can be utilized in so many different ways – and the same can be said about PT. 

The Myth: Physical therapy is only for people who are injured or recovering from surgery.

The Truth: Physical therapists are just as good at preventing injury as they are at treating them. 

In fact, you could be a 100% healthy, pain-free individual, and you would still stand to benefit from seeing a physical therapist – even if it’s just a once- or twice-per-year thing, like you do a dentist or eye doctor. 

Myth #4: You need a referral or prescription for PT.

Let’s say you’re experiencing pain in your lower back. It was tolerable at first, but it has persisted for three weeks and is starting to get worse – so you decide to schedule an appointment with a local chiropractor. 

After a brief evaluation, they refer you to a physical therapist. 

This is how most people get introduced to PT, but it’s far from the only way – and a referral isn’t always necessary. Sometimes, your interest in physical therapy and healthy living is all the referral you need. 

The Myth: Physical therapists require a referral or prescription before working with a client. 

The Truth: While some practices and insurance companies require a referral, not all PTs do. 

With that said, most insurance companies only cover physical therapy if deemed medically necessary or if a referral is issued. If not covered by insurance, the client will be responsible for paying for the sessions.

Myth #3: A physical therapist is the same as a personal trainer.

A personal trainer is a fitness professional who creates personalized exercise routines designed to help clients reach their health and wellness goals – whether that be to add strength, lose weight, or bulk up. 

They’re sometimes referred to as PTs, but don’t get them confused with physical therapists. 

A physical therapist is a licensed doctor who specializes in movement and mobility. They’re trained to diagnose and treat physical impairments, disabilities, and injuries, and do so in a wide variety of ways.

The Myth: Physical therapy is just another word for personal training. 

The Truth: Physical therapists and personal trainers have similar goals, but different methods. 

The biggest difference between a physical therapist and personal trainer is their education. Becoming a trainer requires a certification, but physical therapists need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.

Myth #2: Undergoing surgery is your only option. 

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a staggering 310 million surgeries are performed each year across the globe – and more than 50 million of those surgeries happen right here in the US. 

But surgery isn’t always your only option.

In fact, surgery isn’t always the best option, either. Physical therapy can prove to be just as effective (if not more) than some herniated disc surgeries, rotator cuff repairs, carpal tunnel surgery, and much more.

The Myth: Surgery is your only option when overcoming chronic pain and significant injuries. 

The Truth: Physical therapy can act as an alternative to surgery, but it can also complement it.

With that said, there’s no cookie-cutter solution to any injury or ailment. To be honest, physical therapists and surgeons often work together when treating patients – and that’s, sometimes, the best outcome. 

Myth #1: Physical therapy is painful. 

Physical therapy isn’t easy. It challenges patients in various ways and will require a strong support system to help get you through the recovery and aftercare process. With that said, PT shouldn’t be painful. 

In fact, if you’re experiencing excessive pain during your PT session, then something is wrong. 

That’s why it’s important to be open and honest with your physical therapist throughout the session – that way, they can properly tailor the exercises to better meet your needs and ensure the progress continues. 

The Myth: Physical therapy sessions are painful. 

The Truth: Physical therapy might involve soreness and discomfort, but it shouldn’t cause pain.

Despite the discomfort and soreness, physical therapy is supposed to be therapeutic. Over time, you’ll become more and more comfortable in your body, and will be able to move around like never before. 

PhysioRX: Physical Therapy Like You’ve Never Seen Before

Are you scheduled to have surgery in the near future? Have you recently suffered an injury that has you thinking twice about making a return to the gym? Do you want to look and feel your absolute best?

If you answered ‘yes’ to either of those questions, you’ve come to the right place. 

Welcome to PhysioRX – your go-to source for pain relief and physical therapy. 

But don’t let us fool you – we’re not your typical physical therapists. 

At PhysioRX, we take a unique, hybrid approach to physical therapy by leveraging the power of in-person sessions and at-home progress that’s monitored through a mobile app that gives you instant and direct access to your physical therapist – as well as your personal trainer and nutritionist – if needed, of course.

To learn more about our approach to physical therapy and how we can help you live your best life, don’t hesitate to schedule your initial consultation with one of our physical therapists – we’ll be waiting for you!

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