Physical Therapist as Your Primary Care Provider
When it comes to issues regarding your musculoskeletal system and mobility, a physical therapist has some of the most in-depth training and education of any healthcare professional.
Your primary care doctor will also have education in anatomy but they also have to know about all the other organ systems and medications and so they will just not be able to have the depth of knowledge in the musculoskeletal system that a physical therapist does.
A physical therapist will often be able to spend about an hour with you for treatments and evaluation while your primary care doctor most times usually just has about 15 minutes. So a physical therapist has more time to assess your issue and formulate a plan to improve it.
So if you go to a physical therapist first when you're having an issue we can assess your range of motion, strength, balance, joint mobility and your overall ability to walk and move to find the areas that need to be worked on. Physical therapist are also trained to be able to know when to refer to a physician if something is more serious or if it requires imaging.
Going to a physical therapist first for musculoskeletal issues like low back pain is associated with improved functional outcomes, improved satisfaction, less medication use and reduced healthcare spending compared to going to your primary care doctor first.
Nick Rech, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS, CFL1
Nick is a physical therapist and owner of Rech Physio, a service that provides outpatient physical therapy in your home.