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Why Coming to Physical Therapy First Works


By: Rachel Herrmann, PT, DPT

Did you know…

  • You do not need to see a doctor before seeing a physical therapist?
  • You do not always need an X-ray or MRI?
  • And you can feel better faster, the sooner you start physical therapy?

Often times people will get an injury or develop a pain and then wait a period of time to see if it will go away on its own.  But if it doesn’t go away, then people often try to schedule a doctor’s appointment but you may not be able to get an appointment right away. Then you’re waiting for the X-ray or MRI and then you’re waiting another few days for the imaging results just to be told to go to physical therapy. Sound familiar? It’s frustrating to have to continue to push through a pain or an injury. Why not just skip the hassle and co-pay of the doctor’s appoint, save some time, and come straight to physical therapy?

By coming to physical therapy first, we can evaluate your condition and determine aggravating factors to your pain. Physical therapists will then be able to educate you on what to do or not do in order to prevent your pain or condition from getting worse. As pain levels are managed, physical therapy will then help you through targeted stretching and strengthening exercises. These in turn will improve your posture and body mechanics in order to keep the pain from reoccurring and decrease your risk of future injury. So you can see, physical therapy has many short and long term benefits. 

The sooner you seek treatment for a pain, the better the prognosis and the quicker you can get back to doing the things you really want to do. Muscle atrophy or when muscles waste away, can be a secondary issue from prolonged pain or injury because pain usually causes your level of activity to decrease and you experience muscle inhibition due to pain. The weaker the muscles become, the longer it can take to bring you strength back to a normal level and optimize joint function. Additionally, the longer you have the pain, the more likely it is for other parts of your body to start compensating. It changes the way you do certain things in order to avoid the pain.  These compensations can then cause overuse, wear-and-tear and pain in other body parts. There’s a trickle down effect from not handling pain right away. Delaying treatment can also cause acute or localized pain to progress to chronic pain. The longer you have a condition, the longer it can take to recover from it, so the sooner you start physical therapy, the better .

Whether you have a pain that is new or old, come to physical therapy first so that we can get your treatment started now and get you feeling better faster. 

CLICK HERE to schedule your FREE ASSESSMENT with Loudoun Sports Therapy Center. Our expert physical therapists can evaluate your condition and help you get back to normal!