If you go hiking with friends on a sunny spring day, it is easy to get caught off guard by a loose rock on the mountain. In that moment, you may lose your balance and twist an ankle. You spend the rest of your weekend limping around the house to keep pressure off the injured area and maybe take a few ibuprofen to help reduce the pain and swelling.
Come Monday, you’re still hurting and need some help. What’s the best course of treatment? While some people may be inclined to call their doctor, the fact is that seeing a physical therapist (PT) first is often the quickest option to get you on the road to recovery! Why is that?

Seeing a Physical Therapist First

Consulting with a PT first can reduce your recovery time as our experienced team of PTs can evaluate your condition and initiate appropriate and immediate treatment of your injury. Another benefit of seeing a PT first is that we treat your entire body by identifying the root cause of your pain. Our PTs will not only address the area of pain, but can teach you how to properly care for your body, to decrease the likelihood of future injury.

Your Physical Therapy Visit

At the time of your appointment, our physical therapy team will perform an assessment to see which manual therapy techniques and exercises are the most effective course of treatment. In our clinics, we commonly see patients for back, shoulder and knee injuries. We specialize in the treatment of any orthopedic conditions that affect the muscles, joints and bones. These musculoskeletal conditions can range from an avid runner experiencing joint pain to someone who has recently undergone orthopedic surgery.

When It Is Time to See an MD

We see many patients who question when to seek treatment from a specialist versus continuing with conservative physical therapy management alone. Our physical therapists will help you understand the scope of your injury, the cause of pain and whether additional care is necessary. Rest assured that if we identify an injury that needs further medical attention, we will refer you to the appropriate specialist. While you await your appointment, you can continue receiving some relief through physical therapy, rather than living with pain.

What Is Direct Access to Physical Therapy Treatment?

Did you know that you can see a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral? Through an initiative called Direct Access, you can bypass your physician to see a PT first. The most significant benefit of Direct Access is accessibility to immediate and effective treatment. When you call one of our 11 offices, you can see a qualified PT and begin treatment within 24 hours. Often, physical therapy is the treatment a physician would recommended for orthopedic injuries. Seeing a physical therapist first means you can be on the road to living a pain-free life much sooner.

Typically, we can see a patient at least six times without a doctor’s referral. In addition to providing prompt access to a team of well-rounded medical professionals, Direct Access allows individuals more control over their overall healthcare expenditures.

If you’ve experienced an acute injury or are suffering from chronic pain, contact our team for a physical therapy consultation today!

Article By:

Eric Stearns 
PT, MS, OCS, CIDN