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What is physical therapy?

I get asked this question all the time. “Do you just tell me some exercises to do? Don’t you just give me some stretchy bands? Can you massage my back? What’s the difference between you and a chiropractor? Don’t you only help older people or high school athletes who tore their ACL? I don’t need this, my doctor is making me go.” The list goes on and on. I’d love to hear from other PTs the questions they get asked as well. Comment below!


I think it is fair to say that “physical therapy” and EXACTLY what it is will vary widely from place to place, between settings, and clinician to clinician. PTs will have different philosophies and theories they practice from, different tools they use, different people they work with, and different ways of caring for the client.


What I can say is that physical therapists are your movement, injury, & function specialists. You depend on your body every single say to get you from point A to point B and help you do all the things you need to do in your super busy life. When you’re hurting or suddenly unable to do what you need to, we work with you to decrease or manage your pain as well as getting back to doing all the activities you love to the best of your ability. It doesn’t matter what age you are, whether you’ve played sports or not, or if you’ve had surgery. It is worth asking a physical therapist to see if they can help you. For example, do any of these sound familiar?


“It hurts when I do this. My doctor said I should just stop doing that.”

“My shoulder is so stiff, and I haven’t been able to brush my hair with that arm in 3 months.”

“I think I tore my hamstring. Should I just stretch it and mobilize?”

“I’m having trouble getting off the floor, and I’m afraid if I fall, I won’t be able to get back up.”

“My knee hurts when I run & I want to do the half next year, but maybe I should stop running, I heard it is bad for you.”

“I get a sharp pain right here when I do this lift. Should I stop? I don’t want to quit Crossfit.”

“I’ve been getting a pinching in my hip & my doctor said I will need a hip replacement soon because I have osteoarthritis.”


If yes, or ANYTHING SIMILAR, ask your physical therapist for help. Ask what they think. We went into this profession with a core value that helping people is important. And if we can’t help directly, we can help you find other options or someone with more expertise in the area to help you. When we do work with a client, we do everything we can to help educate the client and train them to get stronger, more mobile, have better balance, decrease pain, PR lifts, and so much more.


So my answer to the question, “What is physical therapy?” has often just become, “What are you having trouble with and how can I help you?”


If any of the examples above sound familiar, we can help. Schedule your initial consultation here or call us at 702-530-8067.


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