Physical therapists are an integral part of orthopaedic care. PTs are movement experts who can support the restoration of mobility, reduce pain and help you get back to your daily activities. But, there are some common misconceptions about physical therapy that can often discourage people from seeking treatment. Here, our orthopaedic experts debunk physical therapy myths.

Myth #1: Physical therapy is just for those recovering from an injury or surgery.

Physical therapy can help in any phase of the healing process, either as a one-time treatment or ongoing therapy. While many people will visit a physical therapist after surgery, it is not just used for rehabilitation and recovery. Advantages of physical therapy include: 

  • Pain management 
  • Avoiding surgery
  • Improved mobility and movement
  • Recover from injury or trauma
  • Improved balance
  • Return to activities 
  • Teach coping strategies for dealing with pain
  • Promoting physical activity
  • Management of age-related medical problems

Myth #2: Physical therapy is for older people.

Another physical therapy myth is that these therapists only work with the elderly population. The truth is PTs work with people of all ages. Many patients are children, such as babies in the NICU, toddlers and school-aged children, as well as college-aged young adults. These individuals will receive help from a physical therapist in order to achieve their best life.

Myth #3: Physical therapy is painful.

Physical therapists work to reduce pain and discomfort, including chronic or long-term pain. They will work within your individual pain threshold to help your body heal while restoring mobility and function. It is crucial to openly communicate with your physical therapist to avoid discomfort.

Myth #4: Occupational therapists and physical therapists are the same.

The focus of these therapists is different in that occupational therapists focus on what the patient needs to accomplish. In contrast, physical therapists focus on increasing the person’s strength and ability to move fluidly. If a patient experiences a major medical problem, such as a stroke, it is the occupational therapist’s job to help the patient re-learn how to dress and feed themself as well as other daily functions. The occupational therapist will also recommend any necessary equipment needed to help the person in their learning process. A physical therapist, however, helps the person restore movement, balance and coordination.

Myth #5: Any healthcare provider can perform physical therapy.

Physical therapists go through years of training in areas such as biology, anatomy, physiology and behavioral sciences in order to get their physical therapy certifications and credentials. Since 2000, all physical therapists who graduate in the United States must complete a three-year post-graduate program to earn a doctorate in physical therapy. Graduates before 2000 may have earned a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in physical therapy. They build a comprehensive background to tailor unique treatment programs and make recommendations based on the patient’s goals. Patients can even find specialized physical therapists for various medical conditions, including pulmonary disorders, neurological conditions and sports-related injuries.

Myth #6 Physical therapy only happens in an office.

While your physical therapist will meet and work with you in their office during your allotted time, physical therapy work does not end there. Your therapist will often give “homework.” These at-home exercises will help further your progress and get you back to normal function quicker.

Physical therapy in Cary

We hope debunking these physical therapy myths has shed some light on the truth and shows how physical therapy can be a valuable tool in orthopaedic care. The team at Cary Orthopaedics Physical Therapy specializes in both general orthopaedics and spine-specific conditions. Check out our website to see which locations are best suited for you.  

Working closely with our physicians, our physical therapists make your full recovery their number one goal. Contact us today to make an appointment with one of our top-rated physical therapy and rehabilitation experts.