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Seven Misconceptions About Physical Therapy

1. Physical therapy is only for injuries

man and woman doing physical therapyInjury recovery is just one of the many reasons that patients see a physical therapist. Physical therapy is just as much of a form of preventative care as it is reactionary care. While injuries, surgeries, and ailments may drive us to seek physical therapy in some cases, physical therapists work far beyond this scope. Concerning preventative care, our physical therapists here at Bissell Clinic see patients for the following reasons, among others:

  • Migraine/Headache prevention
  • Circulatory health
  • Improving posture
  • Mobility improvement
  • Increased strength/flexibility
  • Pain prevention
  • Fall prevention
  • Surgery prevention
  • Pre-surgical care

2. A physician’s referral is required to partake in physical therapy

If you want to see us, we would love to have you! There is no need to present a physician’s referral for participation in physical therapy in the state of California. However, the caveat here is, if you have Medicare and would like your physical therapy to be covered by Medicare, a physician’s referral is required. We are happy to help you navigate through this process if you need help.

3. Seeing a physical therapist is just as effective as watching PT videos online

It’s important to understand that doing exercises from physical therapy videos online and working with a physical therapist to determine targeted exercises and stretches based on your circumstances are two different things. One of the many benefits of doing physical therapy here at Bissell Clinic is our guaranteed one-on-one sessions for each patient at our clinic. This means that you will get real-time feedback about the efficacy of your actions to ensure you are maximizing, without hindering, your healing process. Additionally, physical therapy exercises and stretching are just a fraction of the scope of physical therapy. Physical therapy care also includes lots of hands-on work for the patient by the therapist which cannot be achieved without a visit to the clinic.

4. Any healthcare provider can perform physical therapy

In the orthopedic context, our physical therapists have specialized training that allows them to effectively formulate a treatment plan, monitor progress, and restore or ensure proper function and mobility. Physical therapists entering the industry must graduate with a doctoral degree in physical therapy (DPT) as well as pass a state board certification in their state. Licensed physical therapists also have the option of specializing, which requires further education and testing. For example, one of our physical therapists, Karen Still, MPT, OCS, has a specialization as an orthopedic clinical specialist.

5. My personal trainer is the same as a physical therapist

Physical therapists and personal trainers can both be important characters in a person’s wellness or rehabilitation journey, but it is extremely important to understand that these careers are distinct, each with a unique focus. Orthopedic physical therapists are trained healthcare professionals who become experts in the rehabilitation and prevention of musculoskeletal injuries. These professionals must graduate from a doctoral program (DPT) as well as pass a state board certification in their state. Personal trainers, on the other hand, help their clients focus on strength, agility, and flexibility through a fitness lens as opposed to a medical lens.

6. Physical therapy will ‘fix me’ instantly

The effects of physical therapy often take time to manifest. It is very difficult to predict the duration of a patient’s recovery progress due to the numerous factors in play. For example, the patient’s baseline, goals, age, weight, health complications, and adherence to the physical therapist’s plan all affect the patient’s rate of progress. However, when working with our physical therapists here at Bissell Clinic, you won’t be left wondering when you’ll feel better. Because we can offer individualized care and one-on-one session for each of our patients, your prognosis and progress will be a constant open discussion between you and your therapist.

7. Physical therapists will tell you to stop doing what you love

Many patients worry that seeking physical therapy care will mean that they will be told to stay off of the golf course or to cut back on their exercise routines. However, the goal of physical therapy is to decrease pain and discomfort and to allow patients to participate in the activities they love with ease. It’s important to discuss your lifestyle and daily activities with your physical therapist so that together, you and your therapist can come up with a plan that suits your lifestyle and that gets you back to doing what you love!

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