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Mar 04, 2022

When your Doctor Recommends Physical Therapy

dr recommends physical therapy

We are here for you and dedicated to making life better for you and your loved ones. Whether you have been in an accident, desire to return to or maintain your level of activity, are recovering from surgery, or preventing future injuries, we are here to ensure you have the support you need to recover or maintain your physicality. At Rock Valley physical therapy, we are a patient-centered, therapist-led organization dedicated to improving the health of our Midwestern communities. We commit to taking care of you and your family during your current struggle and any challenges that may arise down the road.

Whatever your journey has been, and whatever your goals are, you will likely have many questions when your doctor recommends physical therapy. We will address some of the clients’ main questions when a doctor recommends physical therapy.

What to do when a doctor recommends physical therapy?

There are several things to consider when you need to meet with a physical therapist. First, you should consider why your doctor is recommending physical therapy. What is the rationale for you to take on a new endeavor with a new physical therapist? Next, you should consider what conditions the physical therapist you have selected can help. Third, you will need to consider whether or not the physical therapist you plan to utilize for therapy requires a referral from your doctor. Finally, you will want to know approximately how long your therapy will last. Once you have these questions answered, the last thing to do is find the best physical therapist near you!

Why does your doctor recommend it?

It is important to consider why your doctor may be recommending physical therapy. When you see your primary care doctor, there is a very real possibility that your doctor is aware of your medical history and the events that have brought you to this moment. If your doctor is recommending physical therapy for you, there could be many reasons why.

There are several approaches and reasons physical therapy may be suggested for you. Gone are the days when physical therapy was only used to help people regain mobility after breaking a bone. Now, there are therapies available for all of your physical needs. What are some reasons you or your doctor may see a potential benefit in your participation in physical therapy? Some of these include your desire to avoid medication or surgery by gaining strength and agility. Physical therapy can help relieve pain from an accident or from natural age.

At other times, your primary care doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you with your goals to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. As we age, certain physical activities that we take for granted can become more difficult or even impossible. Climbing the stairs, reading a dish in the top of the pantry, changing the oil in your car – these activities are suddenly great physical challenges. There are many different types of physical therapy listed below, and each of these can help you in various physical challenges. 

Which conditions or ailments do physical therapists help treat?

The common misperception is that physical therapists work primarily with arms, legs, and backs. This is true; physical therapists can help with anything from regaining movement in limbs or your back or reaching to the highest cabinets to pull down dishes, to being able to walk your pets or play on the ground with your grandchildren. A physical therapist can do so much more than these necessary but traditional avenues of treatment.

Physical therapy is for all people who cannot perform normal daily activities or recreational activities because of weakness, imbalance, pain, or stiffness. Regardless of your age, history, background, or status, physical therapy can be a life-changing experience. If you have been or are experiencing a lack of functionality, or increased discomfort, then physical therapy is a great option for you.

As mentioned, the use of physical therapy is not only limited to your extremities. Another common reason a primary care doctor may recommend physical therapy is to help a patient recover from a stroke, improve balance to prevent falls, help manage diabetes and vascular conditions, assist in age-related illnesses or setbacks. It is not well known that physical therapy can also help with heart and lung disease management, as well as a variety of women’s health issues.[1]

From your head to your toes, from your knees to your back – physical therapy can bring relief to your entire body no matter where you are experiencing limited movement.

Are there different types of physical therapy?

When most people think of physical therapy, they imagine someone trying to regain the ability to walk after an injury of some kind.  This is physical therapy, but the types of therapy offered vary widely.

There are many different types of physical therapy because there are many types of physical ailments. If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, weakness, or lack of movement in your muscles, then you will need a therapy that differs from if you are experiencing a broken bone, and those will both differ from joint injuries.

Occupational therapy targets hands, health, and wellness, including corporate therapy and nutritional therapy, athletic training targets sports injuries and injury prevention, and at Rock Valley physical therapy, we also offer vestibular therapy, dry needling, concussion management, pelvic health, aquatic physical therapy and so much more. 

Do you need a referral?

One of the most common questions new patients ask when posed with the possibility of physical therapy is if the client will need a referral or to visit their primary care doctor before they can see a physical therapist. Are you wondering if you need a referral before you can get the physical therapy you need?

Most people are not aware, but in the United States and the District of Columbia, all 51 of these forums have validated direct access for patients to physical therapists. This means that you, as a potential client, no longer need to go and pay for a primary care doctor before you go to a physical therapist. When you are seeking physical therapy, and you know the questions and concerns you have, then there is no reason to add an extra appointment and expense.[2]

It is important to note that some states have restrictions on the length of treatment that a physical therapist can give without a doctor’s referral or input. This timeframe is usually 30 days. There may be other state-specific rules or regulations or specific treatments or plans, so be sure you check your local jurisdictional rules.[3]

What if you are not comfortable meeting in person?

We live in a time when some patients may be wary of going into a physical therapist’s office for an appointment. We understand this because physical therapy often requires a certain amount of closeness, touch, and being in close proximity. We are particularly proud to offer a Telehealth Physical Therapy option for our clients who are not comfortable with face-to-face meetings at this unprecedented time. Our Telehealth Physical Therapy enables our highly trained staff to participate in a virtual visit with you as the patient. You can remain in the comfort of your own home and still move forward with your physical therapy goals. 

How long can you expect your therapy typically will last?

When your doctor recommends physical therapy, one of the key decision-making factors for you will be the time commitment that is required by you to complete the therapy.  The time you are required to participate in treatment will influence your budget and your ability to commit. 

Generally, you can expect you will be in physical therapy until your therapist communicates you have achieved your goals and releases you from your program. This is vague and may leave you with more questions, but as a starting point, it is important to note the time may not be set in stone. Every condition or injury that has motivated you to look into physical therapy will have a different timeline for healing. You can estimate approximately six weeks to eight weeks for soft tissue to heal. More serious injuries can be expected to take more time.[4]

Are you ready to leap into physical therapy?

You now have all the basic information you need before you make a decision to participate in physical therapy.  The last thing for you to do is to find the best physical therapist near you!

How to find a Rock Valley physical therapist near you – Rock Valley’s physical therapy possesses 60 locations which are conveniently located throughout the states of Iowa and Illinois. Getting an appointment at a location near you is now easier than it has ever been before. We now provide a request an appointment feature, and you can find it by clicking here. Find your Rock Valley physical therapy and begin your healing today!