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Can I do physical therapy on my own? 3 reasons professional PT is recommended over self-treatment

Can I Do Physical Therapy on My Own
3 minutes, 57 seconds

Physical therapy is an effective and popular way to fast-track healing from an injury or treat a chronic condition. But with medical and commute costs rising, you might wonder if you can skip the physical therapy clinic altogether. After all, there are so many self-help resources online that you may be wondering: Can I do physical therapy on my own? 

Can you do physical therapy on your own?

The reality is that doing physical therapy on your own without the help of a professional physical therapist is a lot like you trying to lift a car. You CAN do it with your hands, but a jack is better suited to the task and reduces your risk of injury. 

In addition, going to a physical therapy clinic or doing virtual physical therapy may be more effective and less costly than you think. Many studies have shown that professional physical therapy can be effective, like this study highlighting the benefits of physical therapy for shoulder pain.

Need more? Another recent study showed that online rehabilitative physical therapy led to results that were similar to in-person PT. Also, a different study found that professional physical therapy improves health and is often cost-effective. 

There is also the fact that your doctor likely wouldn’t recommend something that wasn’t likely to benefit you. Whether you tore a ligament, strained a tendon, are recovering from surgery or are managing a chronic condition, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to restore your mobility, increase your strength and address specific symptoms. Thus, you may want to ask your doctor if they would recommend PT for your issue before deciding to skip it.

3 reasons not to do physical therapy on your own

While it is possible to do physical therapy on your own, it’s important to consider the unique benefits that professional physical therapy can offer. Those benefits can include helping you improve your posture, relieve your fatigue and reduce your pain

Also, it’s important to note that doing PT on your own may not give you the same benefits as professional physical therapy. This is because professional physical therapists have the technology and techniques — like aquatic therapy and the McKenzie Method® — to target your injury and the tissue around it. 

Furthermore, you should consider the benefits that the physical therapists themselves bring to the table, which include:  

  1. Professional physical therapists have years of knowledge and experience.

Physical therapists are experts in the musculoskeletal system, making them qualified to recommend exercises that pinpoint your areas of pain. Their expertise can help you better understand your body and your injury. Physical therapists can teach you exercises and stretches that you can replicate at home so that you can enhance your natural healing processes. When in doubt, you can ask them questions about your injury in real time — a luxury that doesn’t exist if you are doing physical therapy on your own. In addition, physical therapists can educate you on ergonomic positions and techniques that can reduce your risk of further injury and pain, whether at work or at play.

  1. Professional physical therapy is tailored to you.

    You can follow physical therapy instructional videos or articles on your own. However, one-on-one sessions with a physical therapist can help you perform unique exercises that are adapted to your body. In addition, physical therapists will perform an in-depth evaluation the first time they see you, gathering your medical history and examining your gait, balance, and strength. With this information, they can customize your treatment plan according to your body’s limitations and strengths. Following a personalized treatment plan can help you address your injury and concerns efficiently and effectively. 
  2. Professional physical therapists can communicate with your doctor.

    Your body is complicated, and sometimes your doctor and your physical therapist have to work together to boost your healing. Physical therapists are medical professionals who work with doctors and are cognizant of your body’s limitations and challenges. This allows for an easy transfer of information, such as imaging, diagnoses, and tests, from your physical therapist to your doctor. Doing physical therapy on your own does not necessarily promote this communication. In fact, you may run the risk of performing exercises and stretches that are incompatible with your body’s preexisting conditions or injuries. As a result, you can injure yourself or worsen current injuries. 

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for many injuries and chronic conditions

Knowing how professional physical therapy compares to doing physical therapy on your own can help you make informed decisions about your health. It can also be very helpful to know where you can find the professional, beneficial and effective physical therapy you need.

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address your injury or chronic condition. 

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Contact our team today so we can help you find the most effective physical therapy services for your injury or condition

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