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7 Myths of Physical Therapy - Dispelled
By Lois Thomson

Lauren DeFilippi, Physical Therapist and Facility Director at UPMC Centers for Rehab Services, recently addressed seven common misconceptions about physical therapy:

For example, many people believe that they need a referral or prescription to see a physical therapist. DeFilippi explained that in Pennsylvania, Direct Access permits physical therapists to evaluate and treat patients for 30 days without a referral for most insurances. This means that people who are experiencing weaknesses and/or pain can schedule an evaluation directly with a Direct Access Certified Physical Therapist, just by calling the office.

Physical therapy is painful, but DeFilippi contends, "Everyone is different in terms of how they respond to pain. PTs are highly skilled professionals and we work within a patient's pain threshold to maximize their recovery outcomes."

Many people believe that therapy is only for accidents or injuries. DeFilippi stated that although these are common, PTs examine the whole person and often identify potential problems before they develop. In addition, physical therapists can work with many other issues, including balance disorders, headaches, chronic pain, and even incontinence. "Because our evaluation is designed to identify potential barriers for healthy living and recovery, you don't necessarily need to be injured to see us."

Any health care professional can perform physical therapy. DeFilippi disagrees. "Physical therapists are highly skilled and well-trained medical professionals who complete a rigorous curriculum that includes graduate studies. It's imperative that consumers seek out licensed professionals in order to receive the expert care that provides maximum benefit."

Fifth on the list is that physical therapy isn't covered by insurance, but DeFilippi points out that most insurance plans in Western Pennsylvania cover physical therapy services.

A sixth misconception is that surgery is the only option. DeFilippi reports that outcome-based research shows that physical therapy can often delay or reduce the need for surgery related to mild osteoarthritis, low back pain, rotator cuff injuries, and meniscal knee pain. In addition, ongoing studies consistently find that physical therapy is helpful in reducing the need for other common and costly surgeries.

Myth number seven is that you need to go to therapy three times a week. Not so, says DeFilippi. "Every patient's plan is individualized based on a thorough examination provided on the first visit. Our therapists often prescribe a specific set of activities that can be performed at home between therapy sessions, which helps to expedite recovery." She also added that, "You will get out of therapy what you put into it."

DeFilippi concludes by saying, "A lot of folks don't know how to take control of their own situations, so we strive to educate and provide resources to empower them. We're all so passionate about what we do, and we want to share the value of physical therapy with everyone."

Lauren DeFilippi treats at UPMC CRS – Moon Township, (412) 269-7062
For more information, call 1-888-723-4CRS (4277), or visit UPMC.com/4CRS

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