Why see a PT?
Learn more about the wide range of conditions treated by physical therapy.
Surgical Alternatives & Rehabilitative Medicine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends physical therapy as a non-medicinal alternative to opioid painkillers (such as oxycontin and fentanyl) and other prescription drugs. Why? Because prescription pain relievers only mask pain, while physical therapy treats the underlying causes of pain.
PTs are experts in identifying, minimizing, and correcting sports-related injuries, as well as working with athletes to reduce the risk of injury.
Wellness & Prevention
Degenerative Disease Management
Jamie, a long-time trauma care PT, was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome—and knew from having treated patients with this condition, that he needed physical therapy. Watch to see how Jamie has control over his symptoms and is even back to work doing what he loves: changing lives through physical therapy!
Physical therapy is an important factor in a woman’s overall health—not only for pelvic health, but also for overall body alignment.
Pelvic health PTs treat individuals who have urinary or fecal incontinence (aka leakage), pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse, and pain during intercourse. Pelvic health PTs work with women during pregnancy and/or during the postpartum period to address pelvic girdle or low back pain, C-section scars or perineal pain, and they also develop post-partum return to exercise plans. They also work with patients undergoing treatment for pelvic cancers and /or people experiencing lymphedema as a result of cancer treatment.
Pelvic health PTs also treat individuals following gender affirmation surgery or surgeries to address musculoskeletal pain, incontinence, and sexual function. Pelvic health physical therapists treat both adults and children.
Pelvic health PTs work closely with gynecologists, urologists, pain medicine, primary care, family medicine, and physiatry. They also collaborate with sexual therapists/counselors, clinical and health psychologists, dieticians, personal trainers or coaches.
Children with developmental delays, congenital conditions, or specific diagnoses such as cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome or torticollis can't experience the world as easily as children who are developing typically. They often need to be trained to move their bodies more successfully and appropriately.
Pediatric PTs understand not only the child's skill levels, but the potential progressions that may result from not only the primary condition but also the rapid body changes that occur as children continue to grow. For example, baby with unresolved torticollis may later have trouble with their ability to scan left to right (such as for reading), a child with autism who likes to walk on their toes because it feels good may eventually need special orthotics for stability or even orthopedic intervention for muscle tightness in their calves. Children with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy may require specialized equipment to be able to successfully attend school and keep their bodies safely aligned.
Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury
Physical therapists and PT assistants play a critical role in the health care team which evaluates the severity of concussions and brain injuries, as well as helping patients throughout their rehabilitation journey.
Specifically, physical therapy may be used to address physical, cognitive, visual, and behavioral issues through functional activity training, fall prevention, caregiver education and more.
Wound Care & Lymphedema Management
Physical therapists help heal wounds using a range of procedures, including UV and/or laser therapy, multilayer compression bandaging, removal and management of scar tissue, and more.
Physical therapy can help in the management of lymphedema—swelling in an arm or leg caused by a lymphatic system blockage or disruption, which is often due to the removal of lymph nodes or an obstruction in the lymphatic system. Physical therapists and PT assistants perform manual lymphatic drainage and massage, and prescribe exercises to help patients control swelling and return to normal activity.
Explore Even More Conditions Treated by Physical Therapy
More reasons to consider PT:
Early access to physical therapy saves about $5,000 in annual health care costs for every patient over the following two years. ,
Physical therapy gives patients power over pain, decreasing the need for prescription pain management, whose misuse is thought to increase health care and substance abuse treatment costs by $29 billion every year. 
Florida and other states that allow patients direct access to physical therapy services save money. Research demonstrates that the average cost for physical therapy claims is lower for patients who visit a physical therapist directly ($347) than for patients referred by a physician ($420). Additionally, patients who visit a physical therapist directly for outpatient care had 86 percent fewer visits on average than those who were referred by a physician. 
The American Heart Association encourages patients with heart disease to see a physical therapist for the initial treatment of pain as an alternative to prescription medications. 
The U.S. Surgeon General believes physical therapy has a critical role in solving the opioid crisis, as well as in the transition to value-based care. "It's an indisputable fact that physical therapists are well-positioned to change the culture around pain management," said former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH. "We know that physical therapy is going to be a part of the evolution toward value-based care." 
Early use of physical therapy holds the promise of reducing opioid use among patients with musculoskeletal pain, according to a large-scale study published in the Journal of American Medicine (JAMA) Network Open. The study concludes that for patients experiencing back, knee, neck, or shoulder pain, a visit to a physical therapist (PT) early on can reduce the chances that they'll take any opioids for the condition. 
 Childs JD, Fritz JM, Wu SS, Flynn TW, Wainner RS, Robertson EK, Kim FS, George SZ. Implications of early and guideline adherent physical therapy for low back pain on utilization and costs. BMC Health Serv Res. 2015; 15: 150.
 Fritz JM, Brennan GP, Hunter SJ. Physical Therapy or Advanced Imaging as First Management Strategy Following a New Consultation for Low Back Pain in Primary Care: Associations with Future Health Care Utilization and Charges. Health Serv Res. 2015 Dec; 50(6): 1927–1940.
 Florence CS1, Zhou C, Luo F, Xu L. The Economic Burden of Prescription Opioid Overdose, Abuse, and Dependence in the United States. Med Care. 2016 Oct;54(10):901-6. DOI: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000000625.
 Pendergast J, Kliethermes A, Freburger J, Duffy, P. A Comparison of Health Care Use for Physician-Referred and Self-Referred Episodes of Outpatient Physical Therapy. Health Services Research, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01324.x
 Elliott MA, Bennett JS, Daugherty A, Furberg C, Roberts H, Taubert KA. Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: An update for clinicians: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2007:115:1634-1642.
 'No Bigger Fan': US Surgeon General Believes the Physical Therapy Profession is a Key Player in the Fight Against Opioid Misuse; APTA In Motion News. Jan. 24, 2019.
 Sun, Eric, Moshfegh, Jasmine, et al. Association of Early Physical Therapy With Long-term Opioid Use Among Opioid-Naive Patients With Musculoskeletal Pain. JAMA Network Open. Dec. 14, 2018.