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I’m In Pain: See Physical Therapy OR An Orthopedic Surgeon First?

    Assuming this wasn’t a traumatic injury that warrants immediate medical attention I usually advise… PHYSICAL THERAPY. Yes, yes, I am physical therapist. Hear me out.

    Here is why…

    1. Ortho physicians usually wants to see that you tried a course of PT before considering medications, injections or surgery.

    2. Insurance companies usually won’t allow MRI without a course of PT.

    3. Getting physical therapy EARLY has been shown to reduce the overall cost of care. Medications, surgeries and unnecessary imaging are avoided!

    4. PT’s are exceptional when it comes to diagnosis. Their skills are right on par with orthopedic physicians and out perform family medicine doctors, internal medicine physicians, pediatric physicians, emergency physicians, podiatrist, physician assistants, clinical nurse practitioners.

    You would be amazed at how quickly you can resolve some of these lingering pain complaints on your own. Getting to PT early not only saves money and avoids unnecessary medications and procedures. It also helps empower you to treat other aches and pain in the future.

    -Dr. Michael Infantino, DPT



    Fritz JM1, Childs JD, Wainner RS, Flynn TW. Primary care referral of patients with low back pain to physical therapy: impact on future health care utilization and costs. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 Dec 1;37(25):2114-21. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31825d32f5

    Moore JH, Goss DL, Baxter RE, DeBerardino TM, Mansfield LT, Fellows DW, Taylor DC. Clinical diagnostic accuracy and magnetic resonance imaging of patients referred by physical therapist, orthopaedic surgeons, and nonorthopaedic providers. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 35 (2): pg 67-71

    1 thought on “I’m In Pain: See Physical Therapy OR An Orthopedic Surgeon First?”

    1. That’s interesting that you said that most orthopedic doctors will recommend you get physical therapy before you go in. That sounds like a good way to see if there is a simpler solution before surgery or medication. It’s good to know there is a back up if physical therapy doesn’t work.

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