Physical therapists are evidence-based health care professionals who offer cost-effective treatment that improves mobility and relieves pain, reduces the need for surgery and prescription drugs, and allows patients to participate in a recovery plan designed for their specific needs.
Improve Mobility & Motion
Physical therapists are experts in improving mobility and motion. Pain-free movement is crucial to your quality of daily life, your ability to earn a living, your ability to pursue your favorite leisure activities, and so much more.
- Movement is essential to physical activity, which is necessary to prevent obesity, which is responsible for at least 18% of US adult deaths.
- Mobility is crucial for physical independence, and studies suggest that walking alone can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, hip fracture, and knee arthritis, among other benefits.
- Consistent movement is vital to maintaining a healthy balance system, which can help prevent costly falls.
Avoid Surgery and Prescription Drugs
While surgery and prescription drugs can be the best course of treatment for certain diagnoses, there is increasing evidence demonstrating that conservative treatments like physical therapy can be equally effective (and cheaper) for many conditions.
- Low back pain is routinely over-treated despite abundant evidence that physical therapy is a cost-effective treatment that often avoids advanced imaging scans like MRIs that increase the cost of care and the likelihood for surgery and injections.
- Physical therapy has proven as effective as surgery for meniscal tears and knee osteoarthritis, rotator cuff tears, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disk disease, among other conditions.
Participate In Your Recovery
Physical therapists routinely work collaboratively with their patients. Treatment plans can be designed for the patient’s individual goals, challenges, and needs. Receiving treatment by a physical therapist is rarely a passive activity, and participating in your own recovery can be empowering. In many cases, patients develop an ongoing relationship with their physical therapist to maintain optimum health and movement abilities across the lifespan.
Find a Physical Therapist
Use our Find a PT database to find a physical therapist near you.
Although direct access laws vary by state and insurance plans differ, anyone in the United States can arrange a screening by a physical therapist without a physician’s referral. or prescription.
Some states have restrictions about the treatment a physical therapist can provide without a physician referral. Download APTA’s direct access summary chart (.pdf) to see the restrictions in your state.