Have you been injured in a car accident? Have a fall? Suffer from a sports injury? Recovering from a surgery? Or suffer from other medical conditions affecting balance, strength, or mobility? If so, you may be a candidate for physical therapy (PT or physiotherapy).
Maryland is a First Access state. This allows you to see a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral. PTs can serve as your first line care to treat any number of neuromuscular conditions.
Go with the pros at Peake Physical Therapy in Baltimore, MD & West Towson. We employ evidence-based PT to get you back into optimal health and vigor. First step to take … schedule a free PT consultation today:
What is physical therapy?
The goal of physical therapy is to attain a rapid, safe, and lasting return to a high-functioning, pain-free life. In some cases, PT can be part of your first-line of care. Or, sometimes you may be prescribed physical therapy (or rehabilitation) after a surgery.
Simply put, physical therapy uses a variety of proven medical techniques to treat musculoskeletal issues. This can be physical impairments, injuries, chronic pain, or limited mobility that affect muscles or joints. PT can also be used to treat balance and other vestibular disorders. We can treat the entire body or specific body parts. Your rehab plan consists of a licensed physical therapist (or PT) assessing your unique condition and prescribing treatment.
When do I need physical therapy?
If you have limited mobility due to pain, injury, illness, impairment, or loss of movement, physical therapy is an excellent choice. Some of the most common conditions that benefit from physical therapy include:
- Spinal injuries
- Fractures or breaks
- General back, knee or joint pain
- Women’s health
- Geriatric issues
- Neurological issues
- Sports injuries
- Stroke recovery
- Carpal tunnel
- Limited mobility
- Common injuries
However, physical therapists treat a wide variety of other issues. Physical therapy is also an excellent choice to prevent loss of mobility or recurring injuries. For example, many PTs work closely with athletes to keep them at the top of their game and prevent injury. Additionally, PTs work with elderly patients or people that live sedentary lifestyles to prevent injury or loss of functionality.
How much does physical therapy cost?
Physical therapy can help you recover faster and can save you money in overall your overall medical costs. While the cost of physical therapy will vary based on your unique treatment plan (one of the benefits of working with a physical therapist), the general cost of PT tends to run from $75 to $300 per session if you are paying out of pocket. However, depending on the specialty of the physical therapist and your unique needs the cost may vary. The minimum cost of a physical rehabilitation session when paying out of pocket is $20 and the maximum is $350.
Is PT covered by insurance?
Basically, if your healthcare provider feels physical therapy is necessary, almost all insurance companies will cover some portion of the cost. However, the insurance coverage will vary by individual insurance plans. For example, if you have Medicare you will only pay 20 percent of the amount that Medicare approves. Typically, most insurance plans will cover 20 visits.
Some insurance companies set a cost limit. For example, Medicare sets a limit of about $2,000 dollars, generally. Once you have reached that amount in your physical therapy, your healthcare provider simply needs to indicate physical therapy is necessary for your health and that the cost limit will be raised.
How long does PT take?
The typical physical therapy treatment generally follows this outline:
Each session is 30 to 120 minutes, with the initial analysis being lengthier and the sessions becoming shorter as you make progress in your treatment.
The average outpatient physical therapy treatment course is just 7 to 10 sessions. Your physical therapist will provide an at-home treatment plan with exercises to continue or maintain the progress you’ve made in the physical therapy clinic.
How is physical therapy different from chiropractic?
Physiotherapy and chiropractic are treatment options for many of the same medical conditions. Both can assess medical conditions. And they both aim to reduce pain and improve body function without medicine or surgery. In those ways, they are similar. However, the treatments vary significantly.
First, neither chiropractors or physical therapists are ‘medical doctors.’ But, most do earn their doctorates degree in their medical specialty. And, thus, they are and can be addressed as ‘doctors.’ A physical therapist who has earned their doctorates degree in physical therapy has the credentials ‘DPT.’
Next, with chiropractic, treatment normally requires you see the chiropractor for repeated adjustments and sessions. However, these are not adjustments or manipulations you can do on your own. With physiotherapy, yes, much of your treatment is done with your PT at the PT clinic. But much of your rehab is also done on your own at home. Once pain-free, you may not need any more PT sessions, possibly only occasional follow-ups. But more importantly, you’ll learn proper self-care to continue to strengthen your body and prevent future injury.
Finally, the treatment methods themselves are different. Chiropractic tends to rely on spinal and joint adjustments. Chiropractic may also be coupled with acupuncture. PT, on the other hand, employs kinesiology (movement science), strength exercises, stretches, and even massage. Trigger point dry needling (similar to acupuncture) may be coupled with PT, or other complementing PT services. Subspecialties of PT may include manual therapy or sports therapy.
Physical therapy or chiropractic? The answer to that question is largely a personal choice. If you have questions, we’re happy to provide a free consultation to learn if PT is right for you.