Self-care is not always at the top of our lists of priorities, but if you’ve suffered an injury, are navigating chronic pain, are scheduled for or just had surgery or you’re simply looking to get in shape or improve your sports performance, you need to find a physical therapist.
Whether your doctor referred you to PT or you self-referred after asking friends and family, “Do I need physical therapy?”, the options can be overwhelming. Direct Access means that you have the right to choose the physical therapist that best fits your needs. But how can you find a PT who is right for you? Every day nearly 20,000 people search for “PT near me” or “Physical Therapy near me” so you are far from alone.
Find the best physical therapist for your needs.
There are a few key things you want to consider before choosing a physical therapist. Google can be like a good friend when it comes to researching how to find a great PT.
When it comes to what to look for in a physical therapy clinic, convenience matters.
Finding a PT location that is close to your home or to where you work is important. Though your PT course of care may be short-term, every appointment is crucial to achieving your goals. Depending on your condition or situation, your physical therapist may want to see you several times a week in the beginning. You will learn more during your first visit. Look at local results from your Google search so the location you choose is easy enough to access that you won’t be tempted to skip or cancel any sessions (trust us, we get it!).
If your schedule is busy, make sure you also look at clinic hours to ensure you can make it work. Many Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy clinics offer extended hours to accommodate patient schedules.
Once Google has shown you a list of local physical therapy clinics, take some time to check out their websites to learn about their services and specialties. The wide range of conditions that a Doctor of Physical Therapy can treat often surprises people who associate the practice with injury recovery exclusively.
Most physical therapists offer expert care for acute injuries such as sports injuries or injuries sustained from a fall or even during a car crash, chronic pain such as back pain or knee pain, pre- and post-operative rehabilitation and neurologic disorders. But, if your situation calls for a specialist, you may need to dig a little deeper. Finding a physical therapist who has taken continuing education courses or earned advanced certifications in an area of specialization related to your condition can be extremely beneficial.
Did you know that research has shown that if you start physical therapy within 16 days of an accident or injury you will have a faster recovery and greater improvement overall? The sooner you begin your PT, the faster your return to function, the fewer total visits you’ll likely need and the higher your healthcare savings will be.
Getting started quickly is possible with Direct Access, which under state law protects your right to seek physical therapy without a physician’s referral. Bypassing the doctor’s office greatly reduces the wait time that can occur and expedites getting you the hands-on care you need.
Call the clinics you’re interested in and find out how long it would be before they could schedule you. While a week to ten days is fairly common, some clinics offer extended hours and are open on weekends to be able to help patients in a timelier manner.
Most insurance plans, including private insurers, workers’ compensation, and Medicare, pay for physical therapy. It’s important for you to feel confident and informed about your individual medical plan coverage and to determine in advance if the physical therapy clinic you choose participates with your insurance company. At Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy, we are preferred providers for most insurance companies and plans and will verify your coverage and review it with you before your first appointment.
It’s a good idea, however, to familiarize yourself with your benefits by calling your insurance carrier and asking about variables such as deductibles, co-pays, coverage limits, limits on the number of visits, and the need for a referral. While all 50 states have laws allowing consumers to access physical therapy directly without a prescription or referral, some insurance plans do require a referral for PT services to be covered.
If it turns out you need a referral, call your doctor’s office with the name of the physical therapy practice you’d like to be referred to. At Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy, we work closely with our referral partners and strive to ensure the referral process is quick and easy.
Whether you’re having trouble picking up your kids, are missing out on activities you love, or are struggling with your daily routine, we know it can be overwhelming to try to choose a physical therapist. As a patient, it’s important that you not only receive the best science-based care but that you also feel comfortable, cared for and inspired by your PT as they partner with you on your healing journey.
Don’t hesitate to ask your friends and family if they have a physical therapist whom they think you’ll like. Read online reviews and explore patient stories to learn more about company culture. You have options, and we would be honored to be your choice for physical therapy.