Preventive Physical Therapy

Save money, time, and a whole lot of pain

Nobody waits for smoke to billow out from under the hood of their car to get the oil changed. Okay, there was that one time when I was sixteen, but nobody else does. We don’t wait for our houses to start falling down before we get a termite inspection. We don’t wait for our teeth to fall out before we get a dental checkup. We take preventative measures on our cars, our houses, our teeth, and even our pets.

But what about our joints?

Here’s a fun fact: surgeons perform over 1 million hip and knee replacements every year in the United States. Here’s a few more fun facts: hip and knee replacements are expensive, they take months to recover from, and they hurt. A lot.

They’re also preventable.

With preventive physical therapy, you can reduce your risk of knee or hip replacement. You can also reduce your risk of back pain, sports injuries, falling, tendonitis, arthritis, and all the other exciting, fun-filled itises that come with being alive. Waiting until a problem becomes severe significantly increases recovery times, medical expenses, and pain. Sometimes, if you let a problem go too long, physical therapy and other conservative treatment options won’t work at all, and you are looking at major surgery.
When to start receiving physical therapy checkups and how often to schedule them depends on age, activity, and risk factors.

If you are an athlete of any age, you should absolutely be seeing your physical therapist at least twice a year. Sports require us to push ourselves to the limits of our physical ability, and athletes experience injuries more often than non-athletes. These injuries can lead to joint restrictions, incorrect movement patterns, or compensations which compromise performance and predispose the body to further injury. Injury-related impairments must be identified and corrected early to keep you in top condition and mitigate the risk of future injuries.

If you aren’t an athlete, you should still see your therapist twice a year if you have one or more of the following risk factors: history of major injury, an autoimmune diagnosis that affects the musculoskeletal system, a neurological diagnosis, a recent history of falling more than once in a year, age greater than 65.

People under 65 who are not actively participating in sports and who don’t have any of the above risk factors will be fine with one visit a year.

For all its benefits, preventive physical therapy does have one downside: it doesn’t fit into our current healthcare model. Right now, insurance companies will not reimburse for preventive physical therapy services. So, until the insurance companies change their policies, if you want a preventive physical therapy visit, you will have to pay out of pocket. A private-pay physical therapy visit usually runs between $90-200.

That may seem pricey, but consider that while you can buy a new car, a new house, and even new teeth, you can’t buy a new body. Do yourself a favor, book a preventive appointment with your local physical therapist today. Pay out of pocket. It’s going to save you time, money, and a whole lot of pain.

Matthew Rieder, DPT
Owner, Renew Physical Therapy and Wellness LLC.