By Katie Lauder
Sometimes it is very obvious when you should schedule a PT appointment; your doctor tells you to; you just had a knee replacement; your shoulder hurts every time you reach overhead. Many people may forget or do not know that physical therapy can be pertinent in many other situations as well.
For starters, in the state of Connecticut, and most other states, you do not need to visit a physician before you see a physical therapist. Physical therapists are trained to decide if a person is appropriate for PT – or not. If someone goes to PT with indigestion thinking it is an abdominal muscle strain, the PT will send them to his or her primary care physician.
Furthermore, most health insurance plans automatically cover a physical therapy evaluation, no questions asked. This means that anyone can, at the very least, have an evaluation by a physical therapist. Sometimes an evaluation is all that’s needed for a smaller nagging injury. The evaluation could also be used for more of a screen (e.g., I feel okay now but am I at risk for injury by having tight shoulders?) or a movement assessment (e.g., why can’t I get below parallel in my overhead squat?).
The important thing to remember is that you – and you alone – are ultimately in charge of your own health. Use the health care system in the way that best suits you. Then use your health care providers as part of your team, not just as authoritarian figures who will tell you what to do (or not to do).
If something is painful, nagging, or just not feeling right, get it checked out! You owe it to yourself.