Most Common Misconceptions About Physical Therapy 

Jul 5, 2022

Most Common Misconceptions About Physical TherapyWhether your doctor has recommended you see a physical therapist or a friend told you about their great experience, you might be wondering what exactly physical therapy is and how it can help you. The truth is that physical therapists can help with a wide range of issues and health conditions, including rehabilitation after a surgery or injury. After earning a bachelor’s degree, physical therapists get specialized education in physical therapy to earn a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. Physical therapists are considered movement experts because they study the musculoskeletal system and how your strength and mobility impact your health and quality of life. Physical therapy typically involves a combination of prescribed stretches and exercises, hands-on treatment, and patient education. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting your Snellville physical therapists.

5 Common Misconceptions About Physical Therapy

misconception about physical therapyBefore you get started with a physical therapist, it helps to know more about what the experience will be like and what it won’t be like. Here are five common misconceptions about what physical therapy is like and how it might work for you:

Misconception # 1: Physical therapy will hurt

The first common misconception about physical therapy is that it will be painful or uncomfortable. In fact, physical therapy should never make your pain worse. You might experience some discomfort as your body gets used to stretches, exercises, and other techniques that test your strength and mobility. However, your physical therapist will work alongside you to ensure you are comfortable throughout your treatment. You can always let your physical therapist know if something hurts or bothers you so they can make adjustments to your treatment plan accordingly.

Misconception #2: Physical therapy is only for athletes

Physical therapists are commonly associated with athletes, but that doesn’t mean they only work with this specific population of people. In fact, physical therapists work with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. Whether you are a professional athlete or not, physical therapy will provide you with the tools you need to recover and rehabilitate effectively. Physical therapy for athletes is more commonly heard of because of the demands certain sports and activities can put on the body. Athletes can end up with more serious injuries that impact their mobility and require additional support to recover so they can get back on the field. However, a physical therapist can also help you recover from an injury or surgery so you can get back to your regular routine of walking your dog around the block or comfortably walking up and down a flight of stairs in your home.

Misconception #3: Physical therapy won’t work without surgery

Physical therapy is not just something you do after surgery. In fact, you can see a physical therapist before surgery for what is commonly known as ‘prehab.’ Rehabilitation before surgery can help your body better prepare for an upcoming procedure by helping you improve your strength and stamina. If surgery will leave you partially or completely immobilized for a certain period of time, then physical therapy can help you improve strength and flexibility so that you don’t lose too much muscle mass while you recover. Physical therapy can also help you avoid surgery altogether by improving your overall health and well-being. Your doctor may recommend you go to a physical therapist to see if your condition can improve with a non-invasive approach before resorting to a more serious and invasive procedure like surgery.

Misconception #4: Physical therapy is the same as a fitness class

While physical therapy is commonly associated with exercise, that does not mean you can get the same benefits as you would from an exercise class or going to the gym. Physical therapists are licensed and trained to provide therapeutic care through treatment techniques that include stretching and exercises. However, some exercises can make your issue or injury worse if you try to handle it on your own. A physical therapist will incorporate exercises that target specific areas or muscle groups with the full knowledge and understanding of your injury or health condition. Your physical therapist will also teach you things you can do at home to help support your physical therapy sessions.

Misconception #5: All physical therapists work the same

While physical therapists all have the same title and credentials, they often specialize in certain areas and have their own styles. If you have been injured in a car accident, then you might want to find a Snellville physical therapist who specializes in car accident injuries. Certain physical therapists go through additional training to provide treatment and care specifically for athletes and sports performance, while others might work exclusively with people before and after surgery. Before you get started with a physical therapist, it helps to ask if they have experience or specialize in what brings you to therapy so you can make sure you have the right fit.

What to Expect with Physical Therapy

What to Expect with Physical TherapyFrom the first visit through your recovery, physical therapists are here to help. Physical therapy offers personalized attention and treatment so you can get quality and comprehensive care. When you schedule your first physical therapy appointment, you can prepare by writing down your important medical history facts and details about the reason for your visit to the physical therapist’s office. This can help you feel prepared and ready to learn more about how physical therapy can help you. Here’s what to expect when you visit your Snellville physical therapy clinic.

Initial Evaluation

The first thing you will do at the physical therapist’s office is undergo an initial evaluation. Your physical therapist will talk to you about what’s been bothering you, whether that is a health condition, recent injury, or other concern. They will want to know when you notice the most pain and discomfort and whether certain activities lessen that or make your symptoms worse. Your physical therapist will also perform a thorough physical examination to identify any impairments that might be contributing to your condition or affected by your injury. Common tests you might get during an initial evaluation include range of motion measurements, strength tests, balance tests, and neurological screening tests.

Personalized Treatment Plan

Physical therapists recognize that everyone’s body responds differently to an injury, surgery, or health condition. That’s why physical therapy offers personalized treatment plans that address your specific reasons for treatment and goals for therapy. The therapeutic modalities your physical therapist incorporates into your treatment plan will differ depending on what will work best for you. No two treatment plans will ever be exactly alike, and you will have a physical therapist to walk you through every step of the way. Your treatment plan will typically include stretches and exercises that you may also be able to do at home in between sessions.

Pain Management

Physical therapy offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach to pain management. As movement experts, physical therapists help you move through stretches, exercises, and other hands-on treatment styles to help manage and relieve your pain. This may include ice and heat therapy, therapeutic massage, or soft tissue mobilization, depending on what is causing your pain. Your physical therapist will walk you through the proper technique of stretches and exercises that can help address your pain at the source so you can get stronger and regain your mobility.

Strength Improvement

Physical therapy utilizes stretching, exercising, and other techniques to help improve your strength. Whether you need physical therapy for a recent injury or to recover from surgery, targeting weakened muscles will help better support your whole body. For example, a recent knee surgery may require you to avoid certain activities and keep weight off the affected leg. As you recover, your physical therapist will help you improve the muscles in your legs and hips that support your affected knee. The stronger your muscles are that support the damaged knee, the better you will be able to recover effectively.

Range of Motion Exercises

Physical therapists also utilize range of motion exercises to help you regain any lost mobility due to an injury, surgery, or another issue. Pain and other symptoms can keep you from fully moving through your range of motion. After a knee surgery, you may only be able to bend your knee to a certain degree. Your physical therapist will help you set goals that may include gently and safely improving the degree to which you can bend your knee and put weight on the affected leg. This will help you regain lost mobility so you can get back to walking and even running again.

Visit AICA Orthopedics in Snellville to get started with a physical therapist near you. Our team of physical therapists works alongside orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, and chiropractors to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to your treatment and care. With diagnostic imaging tools like X-rays and CT scans in-house, you can get an accurate diagnosis and quality treatment plan all in one convenient location. Talk to a Snellville physical therapist today about how you can take charge of your recovery and rehabilitation with a personalized plan of care at AICA Orthopedics.

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