World Physiotherapy Day falls on 8 September every year and is an opportunity for us to raise awareness about the contribution our profession makes to keep people well, mobile and independent. While the demand for physiotherapists continues to rise and many patients are experiencing the transformative effects of physiotherapy, some misconceptions still persist today. Let us share and debunk the top 5 common myths about physiotherapy.
Myth: I need a doctor’s referral to see a physiotherapist.
Fact: Patients can seek treatment from a physiotherapist without a doctor’s prior referral.
Myth: Physiotherapy is painful.
Fact: Physiotherapists seek to minimise pain and discomfort — even if it is chronic or long-term. They work within your pain threshold to help you heal, and restore movement and function.
Myth: Physiotherapy is only for injuries and accidents.
Fact: Physiotherapists do a lot more than just stretch or strengthen weak muscles after an injury or surgery. As experts in the way the body moves, they are skilled at evaluating and diagnosing potential problems before they lead to more serious injuries or disabling conditions. Physiotherapists help people of all ages and abilities reduce pain, improve or restore mobility, and stay active and fit throughout life.
Myth: Physiotherapy isn’t covered by insurance.
Fact: Most insurance policies cover some form of physiotherapy. Beyond insurance coverage, physiotherapy has shown to reduce costs by helping people avoid unnecessary imaging scans, surgery, prescription drugs. Physiotherapy can also lower costs by helping patients avoid falls or by addressing conditions before they become chronic.
Myth: Surgery is my only option.
Fact: In many cases, physiotherapy has been shown to be as effective as surgery in treating a wide range of conditions – from rotator cuff tears and degenerative disk disease to meniscal tears and some forms of knee osteoarthritis. The study found that people who recently have seen a physiotherapist know this to be true, with 79% believing that physiotherapy can be a viable alternative to surgery.
“Commonly held misconceptions about physical therapy can become barriers to people seeking the potentially life-changing care of a physical therapist. We hope that by challenging these myths with facts, consumers will recognise that physical therapists can help them optimise their movement and greatly improve their quality of life.”
– APTA member Joseph Brence, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT, COMT, DAC
Source: American Physical Therapy Association.