7 Myths About Physical Therapy


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Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disorder, characterized mainly by progressive muscle loss. Physical therapy plays an important role in SMA treatment; however, there are many myths out there about the practice and its benefits. The American Physiotherapy Association has useful information to set some of these myths straight.

You need a referral to be able to see a physical therapist. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a referral to be evaluated by a physical therapist. However, some states have restrictions on the treatment a physical therapist can provide without a referral.

It’s painful. Many people avoid visiting a physical therapist because they’re worried it’s going to be painful. The objective of physical therapy is to reduce a patient’s pain, and the therapist works within the patient’s pain threshold to do so.

It’s only for accidents and injuries. Physical therapists are also skilled at anticipating problems before they worsen; they don’t just manipulate and stretch injured muscles.

MORE: Five treatments to help manage SMA 

Physical therapy can be performed by all health care professionals. Physical therapy should only be carried out by a licensed physical therapist, despite the common misconception that all health care professionals are able to provide this service.

Insurance doesn’t cover physical therapy. Some policies cover physical therapy. In fact, physical therapy can also reduce costs in other ways, by avoiding scans, surgery, or prescription drugs, as well as reducing the possibility of falls and conditions becoming chronic.

Surgery is the only possibility. Physical therapy can be as effective as surgery in treating a number of conditions, therefore providing an alternative to surgery.

I can do it myself. While the patient’s participation is essential, physical therapy should always be performed by a professional. The success of the treatment relies on a physical therapist’s expertise in order to draw up a detailed treatment plan specific to the patient’s needs.

MORE: SMA explained: 15 keywords you should know 

SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.