Physical therapy is not commonly viewed as an initial treatment option when individuals are experiencing either acute or chronic pain and/or movement dysfunction. Most people initially seek care from a primary care provider. For example, if a person has acute back pain, they will likely go to their doctor, an urgent care, or an emergency department. The result of this encounter will likely result in a prescription for some form of anti-inflammatory and/or pain medication and they will almost always be told to rest the part that hurts. Later, if the pain persists then the primary care provider may refer the patient to physical therapy and the patient will likely wait another 1-3 weeks to get an evaluation. By this time muscle atrophy, adipose infiltration, inflammation, and pain from disuse will be in full swing.
In Idaho an individual has the option of self-referring to a physical therapist without the need to seek treatment through the “traditional” method previously described. By so doing, you can immediately begin receiving individualized, evidence-based treatment from a musculoskeletal expert second only to orthopedic doctors/surgeons.
Physical therapists are “movement experts who optimize quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education”.2 Education addressing fear, activity modification, and gentle exercise are the first things a physical therapist will provide a patient. Furthermore, a physical therapist will not stop there but using a holistic movement system approach will educate the patient on why they developed the back pain in the first place and begin treating the cause to prevent recurrence.2,3
Physical therapists are one of, if not the most, qualified medical practitioners to teach someone who is experiencing acute orthopedic pain how to specifically and safely use the muscles that hurt so as to prevent chronic and potentially permanent physiologic change.
Come in today and find out how we can assist you in your recovery.
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Jason Rogers, MS, PT
- Childs, J.D., Whitman, J.M., Sizer, P.S. et al. A description of physical therapists’ knowledge in managing musculoskeletal conditions. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 6, 32 (2005) doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-32
- Who Are Physical therapists? Accessed Nov 2019 at https://www.apta.org/aboutpts/
- Sahrmann S. The how and why of the movement system as the identity of physical therapy. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017;12(6):862–869.