How to Determine Whether or Not You Need Physical Therapy

If you’re an active person or have had any injuries, aches or pains, odds are you’ve visited or have at least thought about visiting a physical therapist. Considering the complicated healthcare system in the U.S., not to mention costly deductibles, copays, and so on, many of us decide it’s easier (and cheaper) to just endure the pain and/or limited functioning in hopes that it will eventually go away. Depending on your financial means, insurance status, and location, it might not be feasible to set up an appointment at the first sign of a problem. This is likely why so many people don’t get the treatment that can help. In fact one study found that worldwide, at least one in three had a condition that would have benefited from some type of rehabilitation like physical therapy in 2019. 


You don’t have to be recovering from a serious injury or enjoying your retirement years to benefit from physical therapy either. In many cases, it’s used for chronic problems, including general wear and tear on the body or even to help improve athletic performance. At some point, seeing a physical therapist at Exeter Physical Therapy or a facility wherever you happen to live may be a necessity for enjoying a quality lifestyle. If you aren’t sure whether or not you need it, here’s how you can determine when it’s time to make that appointment. 

Pain That Isn’t Going Away

If you experience some pain after an intense workout, most of the time it’s normal and will resolve itself with rest. But if you’ve been applying ice packs and resting for several days or more and are still suffering from pain, it’s probably time to explore physical therapy. If you have insurance that requires a referral, talk to your primary care doctor about getting a referral to a physical therapist.

Sharp and/or Intense Pain


Dull pain is usually treated successfully with rest and an ice pack, as noted. But if you have centralized sharp or intense pain, you might have a stress fracture or another type of underlying injury. If you don’t address it, it may not subside and it could even become worse. In that case, it’s a good idea to work with a physical therapist to get long-term relief.


Your Pain Medication Isn’t Working or You Don’t Want to Keep Taking It

Your healthcare provider might prescribe pain medication to help you manage pain and discomfort, but that’s not going to address any underlying issues, and it comes with side effects not to mention the potential for addiction. If you’re taking it and your pain isn’t going away, or you want to feel better without having to endure the side effects and other issues, physical therapy may be the answer to eliminating your pain without drugs. 

Traumatic Injuries

If you suffer from any type of traumatic injury like a muscle tear or broken bone, these can almost always be helped with physical therapy. When these types of injuries occur, it’s important to take care of the problem now so that it doesn’t become worse down the road. 

Changes That Are Affecting Your Ability to Enjoy Life

If you’re suffering from balance issues that might be caused by vertigo or notice any other physical changes that suddenly occur, especially if they’re painful, there’s a good chance that you can benefit by seeing a physical therapist.


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