Physical Therapy: Is it the right choice for you?

Physical Therapy: Is it the right choice for you?

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is a method of rehabilitation after someone suffers from pain or limited mobility due to illness or injury. Physical therapists diagnose you based on your condition and helps work with you to alleviate your pain as well as restore your mobility. The specifics of the treatment depend on the patient and their symptoms. Those who provide this service are physical therapists, trained professionals who typically have years of experience and are fully licensed specifically to administer physical therapy. Physical therapists are also capable of determining what level of care is appropriate for your condition.

Physical therapists work in many locations, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, schools, and nursing homes. If necessary, a physical therapist might also visit you at your home in order to give you the treatment that you need. Typically, patients would not have a physical therapist treat them unless a doctor recommended it. First, you would visit your doctor then he or she would decide whether or not a physical therapist’s treatment was the correct choice. Recently, patients have enjoyed direct access to physical therapists.

This makes it easier to find and cooperate with a physical therapist to solve any issues that might concern you. Seeking out physical therapists to ward off any future complications with your mobility is also a viable option, should you choose to do so.

With direct access, patients can consult a physical therapist as quickly as they are able if a problem arises. Many people are not sure that going to a physical therapist first is advisable. Understandably, they wonder if perhaps it is better to consult a doctor and have him or her prescribe treatment or medication prior to considering alternative options. However, choosing physical therapist before anything else is actually perfectly safe and even has many additional benefits.

Why choose physical therapy first?

Typically, a patient chooses to speak to a physical therapist when they are in pain or are experiencing a decline their mobility. However, preventative care so you do not develop these problems is also common and many people choose to do this to ensure their bodies remain pain-free and mobile.

There are many reasons to choose physical therapy first. Beginning your treatment with a physical therapist is very safe. The physical therapist can accurately evaluate your health and figure out what kind of treatments will be most effective in making you feel better. The physical therapist can also tell whether physical therapy alone is enough for you or if you need more intensive treatment as well as if you need a follow-up. Additionally, he or she is most qualified to help you get the optimal care that is right for you.

Another reason why it is prudent to choose physical therapy first is because it saves money. Going to a physical therapist when you experience pain or lack of mobility before visiting a more general doctor might make better financial sense. One study discovered that patients who suffered from back pain and began physical therapy sessions two weeks or less after their symptoms arose were able to save $2700 in healthcare costs. These patients didn’t need as many diagnostic studies and were able to avoid more intrusive medical procedures such as surgery or injections. Their swift access to care allowed them to avoid those procedures.

Physical therapy first also gets your pain relieved as quickly as possible. A lot of physical pains like shoulder pain or back pain go away by themselves but this frequently happens only after a long period of suffering. With the help of a physical therapist, you can find the right treatment so you can relieve your pain and regain your mobility in as little as a few days. An appointment with a doctor often leads to delayed treatment because the doctor will send you to a specialist and you will have to endure many diagnostic studies that are often pointless. A physical therapist, on the other hand, will address your pain or discomfort immediately.

A physical therapist could also aid you in handling your condition yourself. Therapeutic exercise and the home exercise program is a vital part of any reliable rehabilitation program. The therapist can demonstrate what you should do to manage your physical condition. This demonstration teaches you what to do about your condition so you have a plan to deal with any future pain or loss of motion and you can manage your pain despite the difficulties it might present.

Safety is another benefit of physical therapy. If you suffer from knee pain, for example, and visit your doctor, you might be prescribed medication with serious side effects. This medication may cause you to become addicted to it or have other very threatening side effects. A physical therapist’s treatment does not have dangerous side effects like this. The most common and troubling side effect of physical therapy is something known as delayed onset muscle soreness. Even this side effect clears up without any treatment in a day or two. Considering this, you might be wondering if it is alright to begin physical therapy without consulting your doctor first.

Is Attending Physical Therapy before Visiting My Doctor Safe

It is fairly common to believe that consulting a PT before speaking with a doctor is ill advised. However, there is plenty of evidence to contradict this. Direct and early access to physical therapy is a great method of taking care of any muscular or skeletal problems that cause you pain or limit your mobility. Patients are free to undergo treatment without any real risk of worsening a condition or developing new problems as a result of the treatment that they have chosen.

As mentioned before, physical therapists have medical training and usually years of experience in the field. This training coupled with the experience gives them the insight and knowledge to identify any severe medical problems you may or may not have. Because of this, they can guide you in finding the correct course of action in treating your conditions so you can live your life with minimal pain and maximum mobility. It is possible that more severe problems might require additional treatment, but even if that is the case, the physical therapist is your best source of information for reliable treatment and qualified specialists.

In the event that you are in pain or find yourself unable to move as well as you would like, scheduling treatment with a physical therapist is a great idea. Doing so early is even better. A physical therapist working with someone who begins their treatment early is in a better position to maximize the effectiveness of their treatment. If a patient waits longer before talking to a physical therapist, it can prove more difficult to resolve any problems and the patient is often in more pain because they waited longer than is advisable. Because of this, it is recommended that you seek out a physical therapist first and begin treatment immediately. Doing this gives the highest chance of regaining your optimal physical function and the sooner you begin the treatment, the sooner you will begin to feel better and you can return to living as you like.


In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)


Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)


Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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