Your team of physical therapists spends their days helping people reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and maintain active lives. Unfortunately, misbeliefs about therapy still cause some people to avoid treatment that could dramatically improve their lives. Discuss misconceptions with your team and encourage them to ease the worries of patients believing these five physical therapy myths.
Physical Therapy Is a Painful Experience
Tell your PT team that many patients believe physical therapy treatment should and does hurt. They likely have experienced patients postponing therapy to allow pain to subside, scared that physical therapy might aggravate their pain further. Suggest asking patients that if they are in pain, why delay treatment? Aren’t they ready to recover quickly? The sooner PT treatment starts, the better.
If patients can make it to the clinic, your team can make them feel better. If a patient is experiencing pain during therapy, the fit might not be a good one. It could be time to switch therapists. Explain to patients that treatment can be painful, but you and your staff will constantly assess and adjust therapy accordingly.
The Job of a Physical Therapist Is to Fix People
Your physical therapy clinic is not going to “fix” anyone. Yes, you and your colleagues actively participate in a patient’s recovery, but a cure-all does not exist. Therapy is a team effort, so expect some work from patients. Your part is to help the patient heal.
Ultimately, it is the patient who is in control of recovery. Your team guides the patients with hands-on treatment early as they teach them how to move independently. The work of the PT is crucial. However, the patient does the actual work when not with their therapist. Your therapists can only do so much in an allotted time, so have them teach patients the importance of doing their therapy work alone.
A Doctor’s Order Is Required to Visit a PT
Make sure your team knows they can save patients time and money by ignoring this myth. If your patient is hurting or has a musculoskeletal issue, they do not need to visit their primary care physician first to see a therapist.
As a PT, you are an expert in musculoskeletal injuries and prevention. If the patient’s problem seems out of your scope of practice, refer the patient to an appropriate healthcare provider.
Physical Therapy Is Just Exercise
As a therapist, you know exercises are part of physical therapy. You also know, contrary to false information, that exercise is not all there is to it. Dispel this myth. Teach patients that their care plan is unique and that they receive one tailored to their needs. Physical therapy combines exercise, manual therapy, and patient education.
All Physical Therapists Are The Same
Look around at your staff, and you instantly realize this misconception has no weight. Physical therapists come from multiple backgrounds with different training, continued education, and personal experience. You know there are different philosophies of treatment too. Your coworkers have fundamental knowledge and tools, but their education and career paths likely vary. You all have the same goal of helping a patient regain a pain-free lifestyle but have varying philosophies and ways of getting to the final destination. Please explain this to patients to help them understand that all physical therapists are different.
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