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Do people REALLY hate physical therapy?

A recent Quora post I saw asked the question “Why do people hate physical therapy so much?”

I think it boils down to a loss of control and the following three aspects:

  1. not knowing what to expect,
  2. not knowing how much it will cost,
  3. and not knowing who they will be working with. 
Why Do People Hate Physical Therapy So Much

1. What Is Physical Therapy?

According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “Physical therapists are movement experts who improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.”

Therefore, physical therapy is the service delivered by a physical therapist. This service is intended to improve quality of life through prescribed exercise, hands-on care, and patient education.

Different Kinds of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is a huge profession with over 312,000 licensed therapists working in the United States as of 2019.

The profession is so large it can be divided into multiple categories.

  • Inpatient, Outpatient
  • Orthopedics, Neurology
  • Acute Care and Post Acute Care
  • Pediatric and Geriatric

There are licensed physical therapists working in schools, hospitals, and on worksites. There are PTs who work in emergency departments and professional sports teams.

Licensed physical therapists have a vast array of knowledge and skillsets that help people of all ages and in all situations.

2. How Much Does Physical Therapy Cost?

Physical therapy is typically a service covered by health insurance. In 2019, hospitals were required to publicly post patient pricing information on their website.

The image below is a sample of the publicly posted patient fees for Kettering Hospital here in Middletown, OH.

How much does physical therapy cost?

Range of Physical Therapy Cost

Hospital-based physical therapy is often the most expensive as you can see from the chart above. Our clinic, Total Therapy Solutions, charges $150 for an initial evaluation, and follow-up services range between $50 and $100.

We provide all of our patients with a detailed price quote before starting physical therapy. We guarantee our quoted price and say that if it costs less we will refund the difference, but we guarantee it won’t cost more.

Not Knowing the Cost

A major frustration for physical therapy patients is not knowing the price. Sometimes when people say “I hate physical therapy” a portion of that hatred is not knowing the cost and feeling powerless to make a decision.

3. Who Will Be My Physical Therapist?

The third reason patients often hate physical therapy is that they don’t realize that they can choose their physical therapist.

When I am in pain and frustrated with an injury, I want to know that the person helping me is a person I know, like, and trust.

In conventional physical therapy clinics, the patient has no control over who the therapist is that they are assigned to work with. 

The reality is, you always have a choice.

We encourage all of our patients to work with different physical therapists and physical therapist assistants before deciding who will be their main therapist.

Every therapist is different. We all have unique personalities. Some are more like drill sergeants while others are more like motivational speakers.

If you don’t like the therapist you have, ask to schedule with someone else or consider switching physical therapy clinics.

Summary:

If you knew exactly what you would be doing in physical therapy, and you know how much it would cost, and you knew who your therapist would be, I think a lot fewer people would hate physical therapy.

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