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How Do I Know if Physical Therapy is Right for Me?

People seek physical therapy for a long list of reasons – including everything from sports injuries to auto accidents. Sometimes a doctor will recommend physical therapy as a part of a larger treatment regimen, following a specific injury. Other times, people find their way to physical therapy for their own reasons – often because they’ve tried a number of other things, and are still experiencing symptoms and/or limitations that they’d like to address.

A lot of people don’t even consider physical therapy because they don’t think their injury or ailment “qualifies” – but the reality is, physical therapy is a broad discipline that can be effectively applied in a whole range of scenarios. If you’ve been wondering whether or not physical therapy is right for you, the answer could very well be yes.

There’s one thing that should be said up front, however, in terms of physical therapy. PT is really not a passive form of treatment. In other words, it isn’t “done” to the patient. Rather, patient and therapist participate in the process together. Problems are carefully assessed, goals are established, and a treatment plan is put in place. Very often, the actual therapy sessions with a therapist present are only half the battle. Patients are usually given “homework” assignments in the form of stretches and healing movements. If these assignments aren’t done, and the patient really isn’t engaging with the therapy process, the results will not be optimal. Physical therapy really is a collaborative effort. Your therapist should lead the way, and use their expertise to come up with an effective treatment plan – but the patient must actively participate and pursue those treatment goals according to plan. Otherwise, results will take a lot longer to achieve, and will not be as good as they would have been.

People are often surprised to learn just how many things physical therapy can be used for. For instance, if you have injuries to your shoulder or rotator cuff, PT can be a huge step forward in your recovery. Post-surgical rehabilitation is also a big one. Common sports injuries such as tennis elbow, bursitis, tendonitis, ligament strains and tears, fractures, muscle tears, and so much more – these are examples of problems that can be undeniably helped and improved by engaging with the process of physical therapy.

It’s also very helpful to know that someone is on your side, cheering for you, and using a depth of specific knowledge and training in order to help you reach your therapy goals. Knowing that you don’t have to go it alone is a valuable part of physical therapy.

How to find a new therapist

Any time you consider working with a new physical therapist, you should do a bit of research to find out which therapists in your area have earned the highest ratings amongst past clients. Paying close attention to years of experience, education, and any special areas of focus will also help your cause – but it’s really the experiences of patients that give you the best idea of who will deliver the highest quality therapy.